On A Wing and A Prayer
By Douglas Bayliss

Bringing new-borns into the world must rank high among those events that can cause stress. Here three shorts describing our three stress inducers.

Did you give birth to a Smurf?

Although we arrived at the Hunterdon County Medical Center, in Flemington, NJ without incident, what ensued was something neither one of us was prepared for. We probably should have taken that Lamaze class!

After getting checked in, my wife Michelle, the soon to be the mother of my first child, was all tucked in. As we sat and watched some old black and white movie, I thought to myself: “This isn’t so bad.”

Then I noticed Michelle literally crawling around in circles on the bed. “Are you okay?” I said. She replied something like “No I’m wanna go home.”

This goes on for awhile. Actually a long while, the nurses couldn’t calm her down, and I apparently couldn’t say anything appropriately soothing.

At one point, with a nurse on one side of the bed and me on the other; to keep her on the bed, Michelle tried to crawl right up over the headboard! Well, after that she finally got her wish for a shot of painkiller!

The nurses were against it because it was too close to the delivery time, but she got it -right in the butt!

After a short while, it was baby time! I was standing back out of the way when suddenly … out slips a baby.

It’s a girl! No wait! It’s a Smurf! Why is she blue?
I don’t know!
Why isn’t she crying? I don’t know! Smack her butt! Make her cry!
A sense of panic fills the air (the late pain killer had stopped our new daughter’s breathing)!

Suddenly the nurse turns around holding the little newborn!  She was so cute and wait— listen— you can hear a tiny “mwaaaaaa,” our 1st delivery on a wing and a prayer!

The Reluctant Mother

Now we are in our apartment in Ellicott City, MD where Michelle is pacing the floor. Back and forth, and back and forth. It’s been 3 years but I recognize the panic. “Michelle,” I would say, “we should go to the hospital.” “Nooo,” would be the reply, “I’m okay.” “No, you’re not, we should go.” “No, I don’t wanna.”

Finally, I called Judy (our neighbor and friend). She comes over, and taking one look says right away, “Michelle– you’re going to the hospital!” Judy kept our 3-year old, Catherine Lucille, and off we go.

Mind you at this point I’m pretty scared. Michelle is having a baby and I’m driving 90 miles an hour down the outer loop of the Baltimore Beltway, to get to St. Agnes Hospital ASAP.

I always wanted an excuse to drive fast “woo-hoo!”  Reel it in there Speed Racer; your wife is having a baby! “Hold on Michelle no, no, do not push!”

Arriving at the front door, we scurry up to the front desk as I exclaim “we’re having a bab!” It must have been obvious because the receptionist yelled out, “You’re having a baby!” In seconds someone is there with a wheelchair, we’re in an elevator,  I’m tossed a hospital gown, Michelle is whisked into a room.

“Put that gown on and you can come in.”

In my clumsy, hurried attempt to get the gown on, precious seconds are ticking. I no sooner get in the “delivery room” and out “pops” a little boy. “You want me to cut the umbilical cord?” Umm, no thanks. But I am curious about something and ask the doctor: “What’s the big bump on his head?” The Doctor replies: “That’s where his head was bouncing on the seat of your car!”

First Full-Term Pregnancy

This memorable day starts off as any other normal workday but it doesn’t stay normal for long. As I come downstairs for that nice first cup of coffee I find Michelle crawling around in circles on her hands and knees. By now we are in our new home in Catonsville, MD.

Otoh, I think to myself, pausing for a second to reflect; yep that’s the terror crawl I  remember from the 1st delivery. Michelle’s sister was staying with us because we knew the day was near.  I call to her: “Cathy! Where are you? You gotta’ come and see this!”  She takes one look at Michelle and states she is going to the hospital. What do you think Michelle says? Yep. “Nooo, I’m not going.” “Yes, yes you are.”

This was the first pregnancy to go full term. Catherine, our first, was one month early.  Jared, the 2nd one, was two months early! This one? This one was pretty much right on cue.

We get to the hospital without incident (maybe only 80 mph around the beltway this time), Michelle was checked in and declared to be in full labor.

The doctor wasn’t allowing any shenanigans from Michelle. All I could do was watch as Michelle, obviously in great discomfort, endured her longest delivery yet. I remember not enjoying the sight of Michelle in so much discomfort. After about 4 hours we had our 3rd baby; a darling baby girl.

Jared holding his new born baby sister Erica.

Jared holding his new baby sister Erica. 5/2/92

All said this was the most “normal” of the three deliveries. Little did we know, however, our 3rd “wing and a prayer” was the beginning of a truly unique and frigtingly challenging chapter of all our lives. But that’s another story.

Keeping it real

More information on how we kept our young famiy united and turned heart-breaking challenges into a fun adventure can found here:   http://bayliss.com/erica/

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