At 6am Saturday morning I jumped cat-like out of bed when I heard a knock on my bedroom door. I had been plastered between my husband and my nightmare-plagued six-year-old. Surprised I didn't land on either of them, my son-in-law's cryptic message spoke my Poe-like heart rate even higher.
"We're going to the hospital now. Jana's contractions are one minute apart."
I threw on the clothes I had been wearing the day before, twisted my long, snarly bed hair into a clip, threw things in a tote bag and met them in the foyer.
Jana was leaning over the railing, having a contraction. I moved in to rub her back to ease her pain and she was irritated.
"Don't touch me."
I wasn't offended; I instantly knew she was in transition. I guessed she was dilated to 8 at least. We managed to get into the car with various pieces of luggage, surviving several more contractions. Suddenly, neither Aaron nor I could remember how to get to the University of Washington Medical Center. Jana panted and cried out directions, we recovered and managed to get on the interstate.
No traffic and calm husband...
When Jana contracted and yelled, "I can't handle this anymore! I am feeling pressure!" I estimated her to actually be closer to 9, then silently lipped to Aaron to go 65. At 6:20am on a Saturday there wasn't a lot of traffic, and the HOV (carpool) lane was nearly empty. I knew the snarly place in traffic could be the 520 Bridge, since there are only two ways to cross Lake Washington into Seattle from the eastside.
Once on the bridge, Jana's next cry was, "I have to push!" I'm thinking she's at 10, and began strategizing how I could deliver a baby in their car on a bridge over troubled Lake Washington waters. Mentally preparing myself, but always enjoying the scenic view, I marveled that Aaron could be so completely calm, driving as if we were going on a picnic.At the hospital, we parked in the emergency exit and I ran in to find a wheelchair and security personnel to park the car. The hospital was empty. Like a scene in a low budget movie, my cry of "Is ANYBODY here?" echoed against the sterile walls as I flip-flopped my feet back to the car for the luggage. Aaron was walking Jana down the hall and I remembered to shut the car door. We left the car in the emergency lane. It was running. We were in Seattle. We must have been flustered.
The LAST thing I wanted my daughter to be doing at this stage of labor was walking a hallway that seemed a mile-long. Still finding the hospital empty, we took the elevator to the 6th floor. I was wondering if anybody showed up to work that day. But the size of the empty elevator comforted me. It was a much roomier place to deliver a baby compared to a car. I found myself relaxing a little.
The nurses who greeted us didn't seem to take our need for urgency serious until we were in the room and Jana heaved herself onto the bed to push. One of the nurses informed me I would have to go back down and park the car. In my mind I was yelling, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!?!?!?" But, the new assertive me just told another nurse she would have to call security and have our car moved.
The following flurry of scrubbing, chattering and nurse noises was annoying, especially to someone who's only occupation is pushing. Like shushing those irritating people who talk during a movie, Jana said in the nicest pushing voice a woman can have, "Can you please stop talking, it is bothering me."
Since I was the Mom who cried when her baby got shots, I purposed to be strong as I watched my baby girl suffer. I bit back the tears and shared the verse the Lord gave me as my labor verse. I waited for a perfect moment when I knew I wouldn't be annoying. "For the joy set before Him, He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right Hand of the Father." I encouraged her to endure for the joy of baby Brayden.
It was amazing to watch her strength and her diligence in delivering naturally, her research and preparation ahead of time paying off tremendously. She knew what to do and Aaron supported with love and strength. I was privileged to be there in a holy moment, when another soul was ushered into the world.
Her enduring ended at 7:07 when she received Brayden in her arms. Since I have been mocked ever since my comment of "Look, it's a baby!" when big sister Brookelyn was born, I wisely kept my mouth shut and grabbed my camera.
Later, one of the nurses caring for Brayden asked us how we survived the traffic coming over the bridge into Seattle. She was surprised to hear we made it to the hospital in about 13 minutes. She told us 30,000 people were estimated to be arriving for the University of Washington graduation in the Husky Stadium next door to the hospital.
When we left the hospital at 2pm to go to Jon's weekend baseball tournament, Seattle was snarled and the west-bound traffic was almost dead stop from Seattle to I-405, the connecting north/south highway. We saw a distressed woman in cap and gown, standing beside her car stalled in the midst of the worst traffic we have ever seen. We saw ambulances trying to inch through the traffic on the bridge to get to the hospital. We cruised down the east-bound lane, marveling at the goodness of God. Had her labor begun later in the day, we truly would have been delivering in the car, stuck in traffic on the 520 bridge.
We rejoiced in the health of Momma and baby and the steadfastness of Daddy. We delighted in baby toes, baby smell and baby cries. We praised the Lord for His goodness to His children.
And, to be honest, Scott and I were thankful it was their baby, not ours. We love babies, we always have, but we are tired. We are thankful to share in the birth as bystanders, not participants. We are too tired for night feedings, too tired to chase them up and down and all around. We love in a quieter, sit-down kinda' way.
Now, reflecting and resting, my name is coming back to me.
Gramma Mindy, Gramma Joy