On Friday my children’s school had a Mother’s Day assembly. My five-year old daughter stood up and proudly proclaimed, “I love my mother because she is beautiful.” Only minutes later her brother announced that on Mother’s Day he promised to make me breakfast in bed. You can imagine the tears of joy I cried. Not just at my own children’s words but for the love all the children were professing for their mother’s that day.
Peace Lilies and Angels in bed is the stuff that Mother’s Days are made of. My six-year-old son with his beautiful blue eyes and beaming smile just presented me with a pot of beautiful peace lilies and then he carried out his promise this morning in the form of a cucumber, celery, radish and green bean wrap with salad cream. Not exactly breakfast food but it was certainly his creation. My daughter with her dark piercing eyes looked on and not wanting to be left out searched for where she had hidden my gift and then beamed as she finally gave me Angelology by Danielle Trussoni. I of course love them both to bits whether they ever give me anything.
It got me thinking about my mother of course. We are separated by an ocean but she is still my go to person when I want to have a moan or even want a pat on the back. She continues to be my biggest critic and most faithful supporter. Everyone has had a mother even if only for the nine plus months while in the womb. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a nurturing and caring mother and for mine I am eternally grateful. This story is for her.
The wipers whipped back and forth across the windshield with little success. The rain was coming down too hard and it was no use. I tapped my hand impatiently on the wheel. I was going to be late and if I was late I certainly could forget about the promotion I wanted to put in for. I would be lucky to have a job at all. Some birthday this was turning out to be.
I could barely make out the red hazard light blinking on the car in front of me or the glow of the lights from the car behind me. I knew none of us would be going anywhere anytime soon. A man knocked on the window. As I rolled it down a bit to see why he felt the need to disturb me the water came spitting in soaking the arm of my best suit.
“What do you want?” I barked intolerantly.
“Are you medically trained?” I could hear a bit of panic in his voice.
“Why?” I said sharply. I was medically trained but I had no intention of getting out of the car in this weather.
“There is a woman a few cars back that could really use some help. I have asked at all the others but nobody seems able to help her.”
“What is wrong with her?”
“She is about to have a baby.”
I pulled out my cell phone and handed it to him.
“Someone else has already phoned for help but the road has washed out behind us so it will be awhile until anyone can get to her.”
Women used to give birth on their own all the time. Modern women have become so spoiled by the medical profession. I grabbed my raincoat off the back seat. I had trained as a medic in the army but never had much cause for delivering babies fortunately for this woman I was taught most of the basics. I switched the electricity off to the car and made my way out in the storm. I followed the old guy down the line of cars until we came upon an old battered car that looked as though it was from the seventies. The ungrateful wind and rain lashed me in the face as I opened the door to the back where the man indicated the woman would be.
The woman cried out in pain. I assessed her pulse and breathing rate first. Her contractions seemed to be quite close together. I was getting annoyed by her moaning and screaming and told her stop it while I checked her over. I had tended to grown men who had lost limbs and they did not make as much noise as this woman was. I pulled my hand gel out of my pocket and used it to clean my hands. It appeared the baby’s head was not coming down properly.
I did my best to get the mother to lie as flat as possible on the back seat of the car. I slowly felt her stomach to see what position the baby was in. It was not completely breech but it was close. I gently felt for the baby’s head and followed its spine until I felt its bottom. Luckily the bottom was not completely engaged in the pelvis. Slowly I massaged the baby around until its head was closer to the pelvis. When I was nearly done turning the baby the waters ruptured and my trousers were now as wet as my sleeve.
I checked the mother underneath again. I could see the baby’s head was now engaged and it wouldn’t be long until the birth happened. The rain started to let up and some people were stood outside of their cars under their umbrellas waiting to see what would happen. I thought for a moment that if I dashed to my car now I could nip in to Carlson’s on my way in and get another suit.
The mother must have sensed my thoughts because she cried out, “Help me.”
I told her to give a little push and then another and then another. Within a matter of minutes I held a small shrieking but perfectly formed baby girl in my hand. The man who had sat patiently waiting in the front of the car handed me a towel to wrap the baby in.
I heard the siren. Help was here now.
The mother asked me my name and I told her it was Amy. “I will call her Amy then.”
The ambulance crew had reached the car. I sneaked away and rushed off to my car. A few people applauded as I passed them by.
I was nearly an hour late for work by the time I arrived wearing my new navy blue suit. Fortunately I was right on time for the meeting. I felt a little unprepared but at least I had made it. My boss was very impressed with my presentation and because I was the top performing pharmaceutical representative for my company I was given that promotion.
I went home to my cat that evening and as I sat stroking him I picked up the phone and dialled the number I had scribbled on a post it note earlier in the day.
“Westside Hospital how can I help you?”
“I am inquiring about a woman who gave birth to a baby today during the storm. I was the one who delivered the baby.”
“Information about our patients cannot be given out to non-family members.”
Family, I did not have much family myself. I had lived with my grandfather as a very young baby. My mother had died a few days after I was born. I could not remember either of them. My father was stationed overseas and although they would have granted him compassionate leave he didn’t put in for it. All the photos of them had been lost in the house fire that had killed my grandfather. I was out with Aunt Agnes at the time. She became my second mother.
I put down the phone and shifted through my mail. There was a birthday card from Aunt Agnes. As I opened it a photo dropped out. I took one look at the photo and had to catch my breath and I shook uncontrollably as I read Aunt Agnes’s card.
Hope you are having a lovely birthday and you got your big promotion. I am sorry I have not been to see you for a while things are just far too busy around here. Anyway, Mrs Wright from up the road brought this to me a while back and I thought you might like it. This is a picture of your mother and grandfather at a neighbourhood picnic. It was taken just a few days before you were born.