“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!
“You look really tired,” My friend, Marian commented as I eased into the passenger seat for our commute to the school. “Another late night?”
“No, thankfully my in-laws decided not to come over last night.” I sighed. “Nine is their normal time to pop in even though Tommy and I have to be up before six.”
Marian’s eyes twinkled. “Maybe they got the message when you let them have it last week when your father-in-law went in and woke Andy so he could play with him?”
My lips curled up into a grin. “That night they sure didn’t stick around long. Andy’s just three and plays really hard at daycare. He needs to be in bed early. That night it was eleven-thirty before I finally got him back to sleep. Last night all three of us were in bed by ten for a change. But this baby is a night owl and he or she is sitting on my bladder, I think, because I was up three times.”
“You’re getting close.”
I nodded. “Six weeks. I’ll be glad when May twelfth gets here for sure.”
As Marian drove north out of town toward the school I leaned back against the seat and mused what the day would be like with school winding down for the year and my fourth graders already restless.
I just couldn’t get comfortable. I rolled over and lay against Tommy’s broad back.
“Are you okay?” He whispered.
“Yes. Just trying to find a comfortable spot.” I was almost asleep when I felt the baby move. He or she kicked hard enough so Tommy could feel the tiny feet patter against him.
He laughed. “This one must be an ornery one. He doesn’t like when you’re next to me like that. I get it every time. He’ll probably kick his way out.”
I patted him on the shoulder before shifting a little and laying still. The baby did a few more laps, then soon quieted back down. I closed my eyes, listened to Tommy’s even breaths, and matched them with my own.
A few hours later I awoke clammy with my nightgown sticking to me. I sat up and pulled on the neck, drawing it away from my body. A gentle whoosh of air drew my attention to the open east window. The shade thudded against the wooden window frame as a cool breeze billowed the curtains around. I curved on my side, straightened the covers, and lay still, trying my hardest to go back to sleep. But, the urge hit again and I padded my way across the carpet back to the bathroom. A shiver raised my shoulders when my bare feet hit the linoleum floor. I flipped on the light and muttered under my breath. First I’m hot, then I’m cold. I made a quick job of it and scurried back under the covers.
A few minutes later I had to make another trip. It burned a little this time. When I finished I glanced at the toilet paper before I tossed it in the water. I sucked in a deep breath when I saw a stripe of bright red smeared against the white. “Oh, God. What is that?” I whispered.
My hands shook as I reached for the lever to flush the toilet, and my eyes strayed to the water in the bowl. It was also bright red. Oh, Jesus. That’s blood.
The water swished down the drain. My legs grew rubbery, and I thought I was going to fall, so I sat down on the side of the bathtub. The cool porcelain seeped through the thin cloth of my nightgown as I decided what to do. All I could think of was something’s wrong with the baby. Fighting panic, I hurried back to the bedroom and grabbed my purse off the dresser, then I felt my way in the dark through the kitchen to the telephone on the wall. I flipped on the light and dumped my purse on the table for the phone number Dr. Marsh had given me on my last visit.
He answered on the second ring and when I haltingly told him about the blood his response was, “Even though you don’t have any pain I think you need to be checked over. You’re about forty-five minutes away, aren’t you?”
“But, it’s not time yet.” I stuttered. “I’m not due until the middle of May.”
“We’ll see you in a little while.” He disconnected the call.
I hung up the phone, walked back into the bedroom, and sat on Tommy’s edge of the bed. I shook his shoulder and his eyes blinked open. “Honey, we need to go to the hospital. I’m spotting and Dr. Marsh wants to check me over.”
Tommy turned his head on the pillow and looked up at me. “It’s not time. They’ll just send us home.”
“Maybe. Maybe not. I’ll call and warn your mom that we’ll drop Andy off on the way.”
We got to Mercy Hospital around seven-thirty that morning. When the nurses checked me I was already dilated past six. Apryl Michelle, a beautiful baby girl with lots of dark hair, was born at eight-twelve. She weighed five pounds and twelve ounces. After I got to hold her, they rushed her into the nursery to put her in an incubator. Her lungs weren’t developed fully as she was five weeks early.
Dr. Marsh told me before he left the delivery room, “I knew you’d be in. You were dilated at your appointment on Friday afternoon. I almost kept you then.”
Tommy’s eyes got big. I think it dawned on him that if he’d just put me off and turned back over that morning, he might have had to deliver the baby!
Later as I settled in my room I couldn’t get warm, so I asked for more covers. When the nurse put them on, she touched my forehead. “You’re warm. I need to take your temperature.”
I was one hundred and three degrees warm.