Brad was born on August 6th, in the year 1999. The morning of his birth, which was his actual doctor given due date I was feeling a bit uncomfortable, but nothing unusual compared to the discomfort of many previous days. Rudy rolled toward me on the bed, looked at me and asked how I was feeling. “I’m good. A little cramped, but fine. Really.”
“Well, today is the baby’s due date,” he said, making two slightly bent, bouncing fingers on each hand – the “quotes” gesture. Feeling convinced that I was fine, Rudy took Roberto with him so that they both could get a haircut. About an hour, or so, after they had left, I called Rudy’s cell phone, dialing 911, a standard emergency message. I wasn’t feeling fine, anymore! They were about 35-40 minutes south of our house, down the 57 freeway, at a friend’s barber shop. Rudy called me, sounding a little anxious, saying he’d be home as quick, and of course as safely, as possible. Jinks! He should have knocked on wood – as far as the getting home quickly statement was concerned! Rudy was driving our cute, red we bought it used Honda Civic Hatchback (instead of our more reliable, sturdy Toyota 4Runner). He wanted to take the Honda for a much needed spin, not realizing the car would choose that day to act up.
Meanwhile, with my sister and Liz at home with me, I began pacing in-out-back-forth through the kitchen, living room, and dining room. I was feeling unusually, and unnaturally, worried.
Rudy called. “I don’t know what is wrong the the car! It’s going so slow! It was driving fine then it suddenly made a noise! I keep pressing the accelerator but the car won’t go any faster than 35mph! All the other cars are whipping right past us on the freeway! I even have to drive with my emergency lights on! I will get there as soon as I can! I will!”
He told me later – much later, when I really cared – that while that little car chugging along, eight year old Roberto and Rudy were constantly tapping the dashboard while talking to the hatchback. “Please, you have been a good buddy! Don’t die on us now, please! We need you to get us home! Baby boy is going to be born today!” Rudy coaxed.
Back at home, all I could do was try to relax and breath, a difficult task while feeling concerned. I could tell my sister was nervous so I tried to minimize it by saying I was okay, that everything was going to be fine. I’m pretty sure she could tell I was not really fine, but she played along, for my benefit, so as not to make me even more anxious. Back and forth, back and forth I ambled. I knew something was happening, something… like a baby being born on his due date! I was acting a bit strange – strange for me, that’s for sure. About 50 minutes after my 911 call to Rudy, I heard the car horn – about two blocks away! Honk! Honk! Honk!-Honk!-Honk! The horn was being pounded constantly, all the way up the winding streets of our neighborhood. The noise continued even as Rudy drove up onto our driveway. Hooooonk!!
And then I heard their happy screams. “Woo! We’re here! We did it!” Rudy and Roberto both yelled, heads dangling out the car windows. Rudy thanked the car for a job well done, “You made it! Thanks Man!” Running, and smiling, yet anxious looking, they ran into the house. Rudy grabbed the already packed baby bag loaded with all my necessities. After kissing the Liz and Roberto goodbye, and waving to my sister as she stood in the front doorway, Rudy helped me into the 4Runner. Off we went! Rather quickly.
“This is it. Today is the day,” I said with a pained look.
When we were walking down the corridor of the hospital I remember a group of little girls, maybe girl scouts on a field trip, walking along. Normally, I would most likely say hello to them but I just barreled past. Sort of with a get out of my way, NOW! attitude but, in a polite way, I’m sure. We sat together, Rudy and I did, on a bench opposite the reception area of the maternity ward. A nurse happened by, looking at me. “Are you in labor?” she asked, professionally. Oh, she’s good, she knows her stuff, I sighed. “Yeah,” is all I could say. Within minutes I was taken to the only room available, a small closet size room filled with all the necessary medical equipment.
I. Didn’t. Care!
The hospital staff – it seemed there were so many – positioned me as comfortable as possible on the bed. There was no time to spare. With the help of a midwife (a woman I had never met…), I gave birth to Bradford, within 15 minutes!
Happy BIRTHday, to our wonderfully wonderful 17 year old!