We finally decided it was time to go, so we made our way downstairs, past my sleeping parents, got into our little blue Toyota Tercel and set off for the hospital. The worst part of the drive came early as we crossed the railroad tracks next to our apartment. Every little bump and jolt sent Timberley up into the roof with pain.
When we arrived at the hospital we drove to the parking area outside the entrance to the maternity ward. We were still a little early so we sat in the car until 6:00 and then made our way into the war zone.
We had some particular ideas about how the birthing process should go, but the nurses at the hospital did not always agree with us so we had a few early battles. The one that almost got us kicked out was over whether Timberley would get an IV. Timberley does not like needles. In fact, she hates needles so much that she would rather give birth with no medication rather than have a needle in her arm. When she has dental work done, she prefers it to be done with no novacaine. In California with Samuel’s birth we got away with that. In Kentucky they would not admit her unless she had an IV. We finally consented to have one put in her hand that would remain closed unless it was needed. I still remember the look on the poor girl’s face who came over to Timberley after she had been admitted. She carried a small syringe and she took Timberley’s hand to put the syringe needle into the IV tube. We both turned on her suddenly and asked in unison, “What are you doing?” The nurse, unused to this reaction from patients, haltingly replied, “I’m just . . . cleaning out . . . the IV.” “What is in the syringe?” I asked. “It’s just saline solution,” she replied. We allowed her to continue.
The biggest problem of the morning, however, was the fact that the doctor never mde it to the hopsital. He was called at 6:00 when we checked in to the hospital, but by 8:00 when Anna was born he had not come. The nurses worked with us to keep Timberley comfortable as long as we could. Finally I saw them having a meeting in the corner of the room. They looked at Timberley with serious faces and then came over to me and said that it was time to deliver the baby. They said that they would take care of it. They could not wait any longer for the doctor.
Right when they completed their preparations another doctor came into the delivery room and took over. It was like the cavalry making their entrance and saving the day. Everyone, and I think especially the nurses, breathed a big sigh of relief.
Because Timberley chose not to have any pain medication the delivery process was quite dramatic. There were many tears, cries of pain, sweat and determination. But after it all, Anna was born heathy.
One fond memory I have of the day was of a nursing student who had been sent over to observe the day’s procedures and take notes. They had asked our permission for her to stay in the delivery room. We consented. The poor girl did not know what she was in for that morning. After Anna was born I looked over at her. She was a puddle of tears. After everything calmed down she made her way over to the bed and, still crying, said to Timberley, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”
It seems that at that hospital the staff was not used to mothers not having pain medication. I learned afterwards that in the hallway, Timberley had earned the nickname “Prairie Woman.”