Thursday, April 21, 2011

Terror on the Highway

It was a dark stormy night.

Sounds like a Snoopy story doesn't it. But it was.

It was a little after 11 pm, on a snowy night in Colorado. We were stationed

at the Air Force Academy.

My wife, Gracie and I were baby sitting for friends at our duplex, and our four boys were safely tucked in their beds. Just as our friends came in the door, Gracie's water broke. She was nine months pregnant with our 5th. We immediately changed baby sitting positions, and our friends took over at our house. As we got in the car, they threw us a towel and said, “just in case”. LOL

Two options were available to us. We could go south to the Army hospital at Ft. Carson (40 minutes away), or north to Fitzsimmons Army Hospital (1 hour away). Since we had a quick start, we opted for Fitzsimmons, which was a much nicer facility. But as we drove out the North gate of the Academy, I suspected we had made a mistake, because Gracie had her first pain. She had always delivered fast, but we thought we would have at least an hour. Wroooong!

As we drove north towards Denver on the interstate, the pains began to come faster and faster. Each time she had a pain, our 88 Oldsmobile

would jump over 100mph, then as the pain eased up she would order me to slow down. As we came to the turn-off to Fitzsimmons, at Aurora Co, it was apparent we weren't going to make it. Gracie finally told me STOP NOW. I pulled in to a dark filling station, next to a stop light. I jumped out of the car to run around to the passenger side, but saw a car stopped a few feet away at the red light. I ran over to it and yelled “Call an ambulance, my wife's having a baby”.

The driver obviously and correctly thought I was a wild eyed nut case, and blew through the red light burning rubber.

Back I ran to the passenger side and opened the door just in time to play catcher.

Then holding up the baby by the feet, I gently patted the fanny a couple times and got a health squall. Getting ready to use a shoe string to tie the umbilical cord, I looked at it in amazement. It looked just like pictures in a text book. Like a clear, square, spirial plastic tube with a blue and a pulsing red vessels.

Fascinated, I said, “Gracie, look at this...... and was promptly told to give her the baby and get back in the car. She wasn't the least interested in my discovery. When asked whether the baby was a boy or girl, I was stumped. It was pretty dark and from the rear there appeared to be some genital swelling, like testicles, then I had become enraptured with the umbilical cord, so I never really looked in front. I just said it's another boy.

Fitzsimmons was only a few minutes away, and I zipped past the armed guards at the gate without stopping and yelled “having a baby”.

Pulling up to the emergency ramp, people were spilling out of the door, obviously in response to the soldier's call. They zipped her in while I parked the car and had a desperately needed cigarette. Thoughts ran through my head. I was a senior, experienced pilot that had had a number of critical inflight emergencies, and was always calm cool and collected, but not that night. I was rattled.

The doctor came into the waiting room in just a few minutes and assured me everything was ok. Then an intern came out and told the doctor, you know that baby boy born on the road tonight is a girl. The doctor derided the intern for not knowing the difference, then he went back for a second look and returned “eating crow”. I didn't tell the doctor, that I was the cause of the misinformation, because I was an embarrassed, Assistant Professor of Human Physiology.

Next day, I called my Dad, a doctor who had delivered our 4 boys. I told him about the proceeding the previous night, purposely omitting certain embarrassing parts and said, “Dad, I was tired of waiting for you to deliver us a little girl, so we could quit, so I had to do it myself”. He promptly retorted, “If you had done it right, it would have been a boy---you forgot some parts”.

I never was able to get one-up on Dad.

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