I mean after all, I am the mother of five and the youngest is 21!
But did I mention the oldest is 28? Really. And no multiple births.
Yes, I have heard it all: "Are you Catholic?" No.
"Are you Mormon?" No.
"Have you been married several times?" No. Just once.
"Don't you know what causes that?" (can't repeat the answer on this G-rated blog).
When I lived in Kansas we had all five small children out eating (gasp), and the (then) Governor of Kansas even stopped by to comment.
(1990) Ages 1-8.
Believe me, we have heard it all.
But this is Luke's birthday (yes he really is Luke Lucas, more about that later), so today is all about him.
Yes, that is me with baby Luke, sitting in the hospital.
No, I am not sitting in my hospital room.
I am sitting and holding him in an ER exam room. I am waiting to go home.
Luke is less than two hours old in this picture.
Same exam room, and Luke is being held by the man that delivered him. Notice, I did not say the 'doctor' that delivered him. This is a picture of Luke with his dad, (and my husband). And when I say delivered, I don't mean the doctor saying, "Here dad, you want to watch this? Here do you want to cut the cord?"
I mean delivered.
As in the whole shabang.
And here is how that happened. (*Warning. There may be a queasy detail or two involved in this story telling. Just cover your eyes at that part.)
Well, twenty-one years ago on the 17th of July, my hubby, myself and our four children had gone to a birthday celebration of hubby's very old grandmother. I didn't feel the greatest that day, but after all I was 9 months pregnant, it was the middle of July (in Oklahoma), and I had four other small children to care for. (I tell you all this to try to make some excuses for hubby.......)
So, on the morning of the 18th when I woke up in the early morning hours and said I really felt miserable, hubby chalked it all up to the previous day and all the other circumstances. He then went back to sleep.
I could not sleep. I walked around. I went to the bathroom to throw up. I tried to lay down. I walked around. I went to the bathroom to throw up. I tried to lay down.....and repeat again.
Finally, while I was in the bathroom, I decided I was in labor and that is why I was so miserable. It wasn't 'take your breath away' labor, but just 'I fell miserable' labor. So I went back to bed, woke the still-sleeping hubby, and told him to time the contractions. This was probably about 6:30 a.m.
I had a couple of contractions and asked him how far apart they were. He told me 5 minutes. (I need to interject here that his back was facing me, as I THOUGHT he had rolled over to face the clock that was on his side.)
(oldest and youngest on July 18, 1989)
I had a couple of more contractions and I asked him again how far apart they were. He again said 5 minutes. I went to the bathroom to get sick again.
I came back and this time I said, "Uhmmmm so hubby, if my contractions are five minutes apart, then why do I keep throwing up? I only do that right before the baby actually is born? AND why do I feel like I need to push right now?"
He woke up.
Yes, I said WOKE up.
I did not say he rolled over and looked at me. Well he did that too. But he woke up. YES, you have figured it out. That entire time he was supposed to be timing my contractions he was actually asleep. I did not know it. I had believed him when he said "5 minutes". (I was actually thinking, "Wow, Lori, you are becoming such a whimp! If it hurts this bad at 5 minutes, how are you going to be acting at 1 minute?"
Little did I know that while I chastising myself for my "whimpiness" I really was at one minute.
How do I know that? Well when Hubby woke up, he really woke up. He was like Ricky-Ricardo-panic-mode-awake. He said, "OK, let's time this." As he was getting dressed and calling for the oldest kids to wake up.
And indeed the contractions were less than two minutes apart.
We went in to "we're-going-to-have-a-baby-very-soon-mode". Hubby called my brother to come get the other four children. (Don't forget I had given birth four times before in the last seven years, so things move quickly).
While we were waiting on my brother to come and get the other four kids, we quickly realized that the baby was going to be born. And soon.
Maybe I should mention at this point that we lived in a very small town. There was a small hospital, but it did not have any kind of labor and delivery, (and in fact had very few patients!!), so that was out of the question.
My brother came to collect the other four. Hubby had thrown (literally) some clothes in a bag for them. Maybe I should also mention that one of those four was a 14 month old boy. Yes, really.
By this time (squeamish info coming), I had to stand cross-legged as I told the other four children 'good-bye'. I was standing cross-legged to keep anything from happening in front of them!
So while this might have taken you ten minutes to read this, it all transpired (from hubby's wake-up point to the kids getting picked up) in less than 10 minutes.
The hospital where the baby was to be delivered was 35 miles away. In Tulsa. It might as well have been 235 miles away.
Hubby begins suggesting scenarios. He thinks we should call the local hospital. (Where by the way, there was not a doctor, only one on call...which would have taken forever for him to get there. I did not have forever!) Anyway, he thinks we should call the hospital and have them call life-flight to take us to Tulsa. I tell Hubby they don't put healthy pregnant women on life-flight.
Maybe I should mention here that one of those four previous births had been an emergency C-section where I had had both placenta previa and placenta abruptia. I had to be watched closely because of that. In fact, the other births, had monitored my entire labors to watch for any stress in the C-section scar.
But I still considered myself 'healthy' and nixed....TOTALLY nixed the life-flight idea. (I'm telling you when life-flight flew over our small town it was a big deal. People talked!)
Then Hubby suggested that we call a good friend of ours that was a doctor and have him come over and deliver the baby at home.
I nixed that for two reasons (as I told Hubby): 1. I would never be able to 'look' at the doctor again I would be so embarrassed and 2. We needed to clean the house.
By this time Hubby was getting exasperated with me as we stood there trying to figure out what to do (me with my legs crossed).
I said, "Let's just go to Tulsa."
We both knew there was absolutely N O W A Y we would make it to Tulsa. But I would not agree to any other (as I considered them) hair-brained ideas.
I got in the passenger front seat of our new mini van. As we were running (literally) out the door, Hubby had grabbed a sleeping bag. (Three of the children had gone camping with an aunt and uncle that weekend and the sleeping bags were still handy). (Also read in to that: I needed to clean up the house.)
He had me get out of the mini van and he put the sleeping bag under me. Let me tell you, that was the first of "Hubby Starts Thinking Smart" moves.
We headed towards Tulsa.
Maybe I should mention here that we lived in a bedroom community of Tulsa. Many, many of the people from our town worked in Tulsa. It was now about 7:40ish. Many, many of the people in our town were on their way to work in Tulsa. Read this as B.U.S.Y!!
We are barely two miles out of town, and I say, "Uhmmm. Hubby. I really don't think we will make it. Let's just turn around and have it at home." (This as I was pushing on the floorboard with my legs/feet as hard as I could to keep from pushing the baby out!).
Hubby sped up.
We get about 10 miles outside our town (now on the four-land highway, thank goodness) and I say (for the one millionth time), "Uhmmm Hubby. I really need to have the baby now. (And by the way, besides suggesting I needed to give birth immediately, I did not even utter a sound. I was good. Really. Very good.)
So Hubby speeds up.
Then I hear, "Crap. We are being stopped."
I look in the rear-view mirror and sure enough, there is the Oklahoma Highway Patrol with their lights on, coming upon us fast. Hubby doesn't slow down. We have a quick discussion. (as in 5 seconds). We decide that it would be best to stop and tell them why we are going 90 m.p.h. during morning rush hour when we knew there would be patrol out and about. (and maybe they could help!!???!!!)
We pull over. Hubby jumps out of the mini-van and goes towards the Patrol car. That scares the patrolmen to death. (and rightly so, they have a VERY hard job and should be scared when someone jumps out towards them). They are immediately defensive and tell Hubby "STOP!!"
The Hubster regains his composure and realizes what it looks like to them and hollers over to them (they are shielding themselves behind their open doors...just like you see on TV), "My wife is about to have a baby.........and it's our FIFTH ONE!!!"
Slowly, and I mean that in the extreme sense of the word, the Patrolmen make their way to my side of the van. I have my window down. I am sitting there. Actually I am pushing my legs so hard against the floorboard I am pretty sure they are going to go through it.
There are two of them. I will never ever forget their faces. Or their eyes. They had the look of fear in both of their faces.
They looked me over from head to toe, looked at each other, and said to Hubster, "Good luck. Get going. Get out of here."
And they got back in their patrol car, did a U-Turn and headed back towards our hometown.
Hubby got back in the car. We looked at each other and shook our heads. Hubby asked, "How bad is it?"
I answered (again), "I really need to have the baby now."
(Big-time squeamish alert) He told me to pull my shorts down past my knees. (This as he was pulling back out into morning-rush-hour-traffic). I did what he said. He looked down at me and very loudly said, "Oh MY GOSH, Lori, the baby is crowned. It is ready to come out."
I calmly said, "I've been telling you this for a while now."
He said (as he was driving in the morning-rush-hour-traffic), "What do you want to do?"
I said, "Pull over. Let's just have it here."
So, we were less than a mile away from the place we had been pulled over by the Patrolmen, and we pulled onto the shoulder of the road again.
Morning rush hour traffic zoomed by. And I mean zoomed. (Those patrolmen could clearly have gotten many others!!)
Hubby turned the air-conditioner off and turned the heater on HIGH. (Another very smart thing he did that morning).
(In case you have never been to Oklahoma in the summer, it is enough to make a person a strong-Christian, as you understand if Hell is even close to this hot, then you're going do your best to stay away! )
I gasped. I asked him what the heck he thought he was doing. He said the baby would need to be warm, as we had nothing for him/her once it got out of its cacoon. Good thinking.
He rushes around the car to my side and opens my door. He pulls my shorts the rest of the way off.
I point out to him that he has left his-side car door open. He says that is OK. I suggest strongly (such a nice way to put that ) that I refuse to give birth until he has closed his car door, because I do not want every trucker that goes by to be looking in and see what is going on.
Hubby runs back around to his side and shuts the door. He runs back to me. I am still sitting in the front seat very normally and calmly (except for the dent I have put in the floorboard!)
COMPLETELY SQUEAMISH PARAGRAPH COMING UP:
Hubby looks at me and realizes my water had not broken yet. He breaks the water bag with his index finger. He says it took a couple of attempts. As soon as he does that the baby almost pops out.
Hubby strongly suggests I don't push.
The cord is wrapped around the baby's neck.
Hubby gently and carefully unwraps it. I can see him do it.
Then the baby is out.
Hubby says later he almost couldn't catch the baby it popped out so fast. (I was not scared. Hubby played baseball in college and was a catcher!!)
Hubby told me to look at the clock on the dashboard and to see what time it was.
(Another smart move by Hubby. I wasn't even thinking about time.....well at least not that kind of time!)
I ask Hubster what sex the baby is. (Since we had two girls and two boys already, and this one was the 'tie-breaker' we opted out on knowing what the sex of the baby was.)
Hubby said, "Lori, I'm a little busy right now. I haven't had time to look."
Hubby had to clean the baby's mouth out of all the mucus. THEN finally he looked and said, "We have another boy."
Hubby laid the baby on my chest and told me to use my shirt to cover him up as much as I could.
The only thing we did not think of right then was to take pictures. (In most ways I think, THANK GOD!! Can you imagine those pics??!!??)
Hubby gets back in the car. We look at each other and laugh. We cannot even believe what just happened.
We head on in to Tulsa.
I hug the baby closely as we continue our trek to the hospital. We are calm. Even the baby is calm. He doesn't cry at all.
We discuss the names we had chosen. If was a girl it was going to be Claiborne Elizabeth. If it was a boy it was going to be Cimarron Ford.
(Side note here, one of my favorite books is "Cimarron" by Edna Farber. The book is a true-life story about early Oklahoma (although embellished) and has members of my pioneer family in it. Plus, I thought the name Cim would sound so cute with my Hubby's name of Tim. I liked Ford just because. AND, that name also gave Baby #5 the same initials as his "big" (14 month old) brother, which I knew would be convenient.)
So as we cruised into Tulsa, we discussed the birth of Cimarron. We were calm and happy.
THEN in the WEAKEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE I said, "Uhmmmm Hubs, since you just had to deliver the baby, you can name him something else if you want to."
Maybe I should mention here that the four-lane road we were traveling on to get to Tulsa from our little town is called the "Cimarron Expressway." Maybe I should also mention here that the new mini-van we had turned into a traveling-labor-and-delivery was a Ford. And, finally I should mention that during all five pregnancies my husband had pushed for the name, "Luke"...so that we would have Luke Lucas.
I pondered aloud if Cimarron Ford was the name to give the baby boy now, considering he was born on the Cimarron in a Ford. That was all the nudging Hubby needed. Hubby then said the baby would be called Luke.
By this time we had reached the hospital. Tim pulls in to the ER drive. He runs inside (and I presume tells them we just gave birth). I am still calmly sitting in the car.
All of a sudden I see several orderlies and nurses running to my car with a gurney. They insist that I get on the gurney.
I explain to them that I have on nothing below my waist and I do not wish for God and everyone to stare at me.
Not to mention the fact that I have a baby wrapped up in my shirt and my belly is exposed as well.
Finally, my husband says (and I'll never forget this), "She's acted this way all morning. Just do what she says."
They send one of the orderlies in for a blanket.
I smile bigger.
(I smile just thinking about the comment Hubby made!)
When the orderly comes out, the blanket he brings is even a warmed-up blanket. And he brings two. He puts the baby in one and wraps me up in the other. I then stand up and get on the gurney.
(We were dressed up as Pioneers for a parade. And (the right) Luke has on our family Christening gown used for three-generations....which my great-grandparents brought over from Ireland).
Since this story has taken 10 times longer to write than it did to happen, I will wrap this up!
Luke checked out just fine at the hospital. For a half-hour while they were checking me over they put him in an incubator (because he was not "sterile").
I had a cousin who had pulled up behind us as we were pulling out from just delivering Luke. Tim had motioned for her to follow us, and she had followed us into the hospital.
She had gone to look at Luke in the incubator while they were looking at me, and she heard someone say, "Why is that fat baby in the incubator?" She told me what she heard.
That was all I needed to hear. I wasn't going to sit around when I felt just fine, the baby had checked out fine, and wait for more people to ask why the 'fat baby' was in the incubator. (Luke weighed in at 8 lbs. 14 oz.) Really.
Hubby did ask the doctor if we were going to get a discount on his (the doctor's) fees, since he had not done the delivery.
The doctor was not amused. Not even the faintest of smiles. Hubby had just been kidding, but he knew to drop the subject!
The doctor did commend Hubby for turning the heater on in the car and for noting the exact time of birth.)
(Luke, with my Dad, who made Luke's 1st birthday cake. I think it is the only cake he has ever made. It is a reenactment of the whole birth scene, replete with patrol car, traffic and our mini-van. My dad even had to hand-paint some of the cars to match what really happened. And yes, Luke still has all the cars.)
So we went home. We were home by noon.
The only part of the morning I have ever regretted is when I caved in that one weak second and told Tim he could name Luke. The older Luke gets, the more I wished we HAD named him Cimarron Ford. Could there have BEEN a better name that we ALREADY had picked out?
Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang. Dang.
Luke tells me if he ever has a son he will name him Cimarron.
My other four children have very distinct not-so-common-names. And the name that gets the most attention and comments? Luke Lucas. Go figure.
Despite the unusual circumstances of Luke's birth, he did manage to grow up to be just fine! He without a doubt has the personality traits of a youngest child...especially the youngest of five-close-together-children. He is an entertainer. He has a great sense of humor. (Every time when he fills out any kind of application that asks for place of birth, he always puts "on the side of the road"!!) He has gotten by with fewer rules, but he didn't take advantage of that!
He has been ultra-easy to raise.
He is kind to a fault. He is generous with others. He loves animals and old people (which are both very important).
He is fun to be around. He teases his sisters unmercifully and insists that he is a better athlete than his brothers. He has and his brothers still enjoy playing any kind of ball together.
And yes, he does have a special bond with his dad, the man that slept through the contractions timing, but made sure Luke was delivered safely. And because of that, in that same nano-weak moment, I said, "Well if his name is going to be "Luke" then his middle name will be "Timouthy", after his good-thing-he-was-an-outstanding-baseball-catcher-dad!
So on Luke's 21st birthday we will have a fried-chicken dinner (his favorite. his choice.), all the trimmings, and a scrumptious dessert. And we will retell the story for the millionth time of the Cimarron Kid and his birth!
Happy 21st Birthday Luke!!
Before you ask: My grandfather, who was one of Oklahoma's original Highway Patrolmen, was absolutely appalled at what the OHP had done after they stopped us. He said they cannot escort us in, as that many times causes accidents as people pull over for the OHP, but do not realize they also need to let the next car go. BUT, they should have either helped deliver the baby right then, or else put me in their car and rushed me to the hospital. My grandfather was insistent that I turn the two OHP in to their supervisor. I did NOT. I will never forget their look of fear, and I hope that moment got all the fear out of them and they "grew up" to be great Troopers.