As a precursor to her character when she was older, Anna’s birth was dramatic and full of tension. She did not want to cause problems, but if you can make a big entrance, why waste the opportunity?
My parents were visiting from California to help with Samuel and other things while Timberley gave birth. On Easter Sunday Timberley began having contractions. They were still mild, but she felt pretty certain that Anna was on her way. After church we went out to lunch and every person that we met from our church asked how Timberley was doing. She did not want to say anything too early so she just kept smiling and saying everything was fine.
Our strategy for the early stages of labor was simple: walk as much as possible and stay out of the hospital as long as possible. That strategy almost backfired on us when Samuel was born. The maternity ward that we were assured “never fills up” filled up, and Timberley was forced to sit in a waiting room almost up to the time her heavy labor started. Sam was born about 90 minutes after she finally got to the room.
But even with that experience we felt that waiting was the best strategy. So that afternoon we went to the park along the Ohio river and walked and walked . . . and walked. We walked until dinner time and then drove to a nearby restaurant where we ate some sandwiches and watched a basketball game. After dinner we drove to Seneca Park near our home and walked some more until late into the evening. It was then that I noticed the park filling with an odd assortment of people and I began to think that this might not be the safest time to be walking. Timberley knew she was still pretty far away from her heavy labor so we returned home to get some sleep to get ready for the big day.
We didn’t get much sleep that night, however. Timberley especially did not rest well because her contractions began getting stronger throughout the night. I spent the early morning hours–it must have been around 5 AM–trying to convince Timberley that it was time to go to the hospital. She wanted to wait until later in the morning so that she would spend as little time in the hospital as possible. I think there may have also been a difference in our medical coverage if we could stay out of the hospital until 6 AM, but the details are not clear.
So there we lay. I kept trying to persuade Timberley to get out of bed and go to the hospital. She kept telling me that she was okay. Of course, she had to time her statements to come in between her painful contractions because she was unable to speak in the middle of them. I guess that in some kind of sick way of trying to comfort me she read articles to me from a parenting magazine. So in between contractions she read about a woman who waited so long to get to the hospital that she had to deliver her baby in a bath tub! For some strange reason, she thought the whole thing was rather funny.