This is a fictional account of my father's experiences during the birth of his first two children.
In today’s society, Boston is one of the cities that is in the forefront of the Medical Community. But in the age of this story it was more like the dark ages.
Winter is cold in any state, but in the Northeastern United States it’s frigid. Ashley was pregnant through the winter and Patrick O’Conner didn’t know that that was probably easier for her then carrying the extra weight of her first baby through the humid summer months. Patrick was working at a chemical plant and Ashley worked as a nurse at the local hospital.
When Patrick left work that night, he pulled his coat closer to him as he walked to the beat-up old car he drove. It was especially cold for early April. When he arrived home that night, Ashley was in labor. As tired as he was from a long day at the plant, he was suddenly wide awake. He drove Ashley to the local hospital. They arrived in the emergency room as wide-eyed and expectant parents.
The nurse at the counter looked at them and simply called someone to take Ashley upstairs. Then she turned back to Patrick.
“Mr. O’Connor, I need you to fill out these papers and leave a number where you can be reached.”
Patrick stood there with a dazed expression for a moment but then stepped aside to fill out the papers. When he finished, he stepped back up to the nurse.
As he handed her the papers, he asked, “Ma’am, what about my wife?”
“We’ll call you when the baby’s born.”
“But where I’m I supposed to go?”
“There’s a local pub down the street where most father’s wait or we have a waiting room down the hall.”
“Uh...Thank You.” Patrick wrote down the house phone number and drove home in a daze.
After ten hours of intense labor, Ashley gave birth to a little baby girl that they named Cara. The hospital woke Patrick from the first sleep he had had since leaving the hospital. Patrick drove undeterred to see that little girl and his wife.
Looking through the glass in the nursery, Patrick’s heart melted at the sight of his first child. His only regret was that he was not there to see her come into this world. He ran into Ashley’s room shortly there after, and hugged her as tight as he dared. It was five days later that they went home with their new baby girl.
Six months had passed before either of them had known it. Patrick had finally grown used to life with a baby when Ashley announced that she was pregnant again. Those nine months passed in more of a stupor then anything. Patrick and Ashley were learning the intricacies of raising their first child. Late nights of crying and working drew on their nerves. But before he knew it , the months had passed and Patrick was standing at the emergency room again. Perhaps it was the same nurse was asking for a phone number, or it could have been his imagination. Again the nurse referred him to the pub down the street and Patrick stood in amazement. This time he sat in the waiting room.
Patrick paced the length of the waiting room for the first half hour. Then he sat for a few minutes and paced again. He tried to pick up a magazine and read but he couldn’t concentrate. Finally after two hours he got up and went the nurses desk.
“I’m going to go down the street to the pub to get something to eat. Please call me there if I’m not back in time.”
The nurse just shook her head in a knowing way and waved him out the door. Patrick put on his light jacket and walked down the street on that cool summer night. The night was clear and bright as he walked towards a nondescript building on the corner of the streets. The parking lot had a few cars in it and the place looked deserted from the outside. Patrick stood outside the door for a few moments debating on whether or not to go inside. Just as he decided to turn back, the door flew open and a man came running out towards him. The man was struggling with his jacket and ran towards the hospital. A rush of laughter and cheers followed him out the door.
Patrick opened the door and looked around. The outside appearance of desertion was false. The pub was full of people, mostly men. Some glanced between the door and phone nervously. Others sat quietly drinking ale or hard liquor in booths. Many others sat laughing and joking at the bar. Patrick walked up to the bar and sat in the empty stool. It was probably recently vacated by the man that rushed out as Patrick entered. The bartender was an older man that looked over at Patrick before he walked over to him.
“Wha’ll you hav, lad?”
“Whatever’s on tap.” Patrick answered.
The bartender poured him a beer in a glass that could have seen better days. He slid the glass towards Patrick. He stared at it with an uncertain eye before he picked it up. A loud laugh came from his right as he took a tentative sip. Patrick looked to his right and saw a huge man. If Patrick had had too much he would have confused him with a grizzly bear. The man was clad in thick flannel and had a large graying beard. He smiled when Patrick nodded at him.
“First one?” He asked without the usual ascent.
“Second, but just as nerve-wracking.”
The man laughed in a knowing way. “I’m on my fourth. It’s always an adventure. It’s definitely different here then back home.”
“Califorina. Back home you go into the room with your wife when she’s having the baby. We had our first one back West. When we came here I was in complete disbelief when they told me I couldn’t be in there with her. Honestly, I think my wife likes it better this way.”
Patrick looked at him with interest. “I would love to be there with her. After all it is partially my fault.”
The man laughed and the bar went silent as the phone rang. The bartender slowly picked up the phone and called the name. A man in the corner booth stood and leisurely walked towards the door. He walked out whistling a familiar tune. As the door shut behind him the pub took up the tune. Patrick sat and talked to the grizzly man for another hour. During that time he ate a meal and drank a few beers. The pub was loud and gay until the phone rang. Then a name would be called and a man would leave. Patrick’s call came shortly after the grizzly man’s.
Patrick more ran than walked back to the hospital. He arrived at the hospital and went up to see the second of his daughters. She was a gorgeous little girl with a full head of blond hair. Patrick rushed to Ashley’s room. She looked up at him and smiled.
“I’d like to name her Leah.”
“It’s a good name for a beautiful little girl.”
Patrick crawled into bed with his wife and fell asleep next to her. It was the best night sleep that he had for a long time. After all he had two beautiful girls to raise, with more to come. But that is another story.
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|Reviewed by P-M Terry Lamar
|Interesting! In fact, it's even more interesting now that I read the first comment and see that it's part of your family history.
|Reviewed by Melissa Crosson
|I remember your Dad telling this story! We laughed about it and almost called him a liar until your Mom told us that it was the truth. The family will love it.|