The Peanut Shop, the store her husband had just come out of, that’s where they’d go to see if they could use the bathroom. She patiently stood in line behind a customer making a purchase; rehearsing in her mind what she’d say to this middle aged woman she had never met. Her husband had left her there to hurry and quickly take their motorcycle back to the hotel and bring the pickup back. Finally, her turn, ‘how can I help you?’ She responded, “Can I use your bathroom?” the lady replied “we don’t have a public bathroom, sorry.” A second, more drastic attempt was needed, “I’m 7 months pregnant and I think my water broke, can I use your bathroom, while my husband goes and gets our pickup?” That did it! The lady turned frantic and came rushing around the counter, she put her arms around the scared and nervous mom to be and escorted her down the hallway to the bathroom.
Sitting on the toilet in a strange bathroom realizing her water broke her mind starting wondering madly. What if the baby was coming, what if this could be stopped, and what if the baby is in danger? Her mind couldn’t stop - she hadn’t read that far in the book, she didn’t read the emergency section because it wasn’t going to happen, she didn’t know if she was in danger too - - oh man, there were more questions than answers. This is when she started crying, fear was taking over, and maybe it was shock setting in. Just then she heard a knock on the door. It was the lady asking if it was ok and if she could come in.
The lady, in her late 50’s looked so motherly, not the lady that just a few minutes ago with her business face on said there were no public restrooms. She was so very concerned; she started asking questions and kept the mom calm. They visited about how far along she was, that they were in town for the motorcycle rally, that his was their first child they were expected, but not this soon. Calming the scared mom down and keeping her from projecting too far into the immediate future. The next knock on the bathroom door was the dad to be, visibly shaken and not sure what he was doing.
Not wanted to leave the safety of the four walks of the bathroom she began to realize that she needed medical help. The older lady and dad to be helped walk her out to the pickup from the Peanut Shop. She continued to feel liquid running down her legs and pain happening in fairly close intervals. He brought a towel and had the passenger side seat covered so the liquid wouldn’t ruin the vehicle.
They took one quick stop back to the hotel to talk to one of the older ladies in the group they were riding with; she was a RN in the OB ward at their community hospital. She assured the mom to be that yes she was in labor and that she needed to keep track of the contractions and how far apart they were. Assuring both of them that yes the baby would be coming, it had to because once the water broke the baby can’t survive, so it would be coming today. She also said the hospital in Dickinson some 36 miles away would be called and a medical staff would be waiting for them.
No tears came, shock was settling in. The words of the nurse friend were repeating over and over in her mind – you’re going to have this baby today, it is going to happen. But her mind was going a hundred miles an hour with more questions than answers and some of them involved death. Would the baby live, was it too early, did the water breaking this soon mean suffocation, would they get medical attention soon enough, was the baby going to come while driving to get to Dickinson some 36 miles away?
The questioned stopped when another onset of pain started – startled back to reality – remembering she was to keep track of how far apart the contractions were. They were so inconsistent she thought she was going crazy – 15 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 10 minutes. What did that mean? The fear was setting in deep and she felt like she was in a daze having an out of body experience, beginning to become numb to her surroundings.
Her husband was driving very fast, close to 90 mph, so fast she was closing her eyes and trying to remember to focus on timing how far apart the contractions were. They talked very little yet their glances at each other every time another pain came were of pure fear. Concern the baby was arriving way too early and may not even live. Then they would be left empty armed and wondering why God, why?
The small Dickinson hospital had been called and warned of their coming and all the vitals the nurse friend could provide. They arrived! The drive was about 20 minutes, leaving Medora at 5:40pm. There were three or four nurses waiting outside the ER doors with a wheelchair. As soon as the pickup stopped the passenger side door was opened quickly and she was helped into the wheelchair and rushed away to the reality of a baby arriving 7 weeks too early.
Speedily she was rushed down the cool feeling hallways to the emergency room while being asked all kinds of questions. She didn’t want to answer any of them, this was all a dream, she felt herself leaving her body, like she was talking for another person, and this couldn’t be her living through this nightmare. The next hour would be one that is forever etched in her mind….
Stripping her clothes off in exchange for a hospital gown, a pelvic exam was next, then monitors and ultra sound machine. Her husband standing by her side trying to hold back tears. The nurses were being way too quiet and there was no doctor around. Nurse silence is what brought emotions and tears, none had not been released until that moment. Then what no new parents to be want to hear, the nurse said, “I can’t find a heartbeat”.
Like a wall of water dammed up, the tears and sobbing began and could not be stopped. The baby was possibly dead. Seven long months of waiting, not including the six years prior of trying and waiting for this day. This day was not supposed to be like this, she had anticipated a much different entrance into the world. Tears kept on rolling down her face, her husband was trying to hold her and comfort her through the mess of wires and tubes for the monitors and machines. But no words, no embrace, no touch would stop the numbness settling in and taking over. She was slowly moving into silence……until the nurse yelled “I found it, I found the heart beat!”