In a previous blog I explained about our family tradition of telling my girls the story of their birth on their birthday. The traditions continues:
I was young and very pregnant. I remember looking at Rich and saying, “I’m not sure I’m ready for this.” We both laughed and he said, “I don’t think you have a choice.”
On Monday, February 19, I made supper – pork loin, salad, corn, ice tea, baked potatoes. We ate supper in the living room as we watched the new mini-series Backstairs at the White House. It was about 8:00 p.m. I sat on the floor between the couch and the coffee table; Rich sat on the couch. When I finished eating, I had difficulty getting up! I was squished between the two pieces of furniture and we had to slide the rug so there was room for me to get up! Rich got ready for work – he worked graveyard shift for the Chicago, Northwestern Railroad in Oelwein, Iowa.
The winter of 1979 was a hard winter. It is right up there with a few others on total snowfall and bitterly cold temperatures. My neighbor, Lester Thom, was very worried about me getting to the hospital so he kept our sidewalks clear by snowblowing them as often as possible. The snow was piled over my head (5 feet) in places. And a huge drift kept our car safely in the garage, waiting for Spring. Rich drove his truck if we needed to go somewhere.
Rich left for work and I started my routine of cleaning. Because he worked through the night, I usually stayed up late to clean so that I could sleep in the next morning. The nursery was ready. I vacuumed, dusted, washed dishes, cleaned the bathroom. Still going at 2:00 a.m. I was cleaning the racks of my oven when I thought, “Maybe I should go to bed and get some sleep.” So, I did. At 3:00 I felt the baby kick hard, and my water broke. My reaction? WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Wondering whom to call first, I opted for the doctor, just in case it was nothing. The doctor said he’d meet us at the hospital. I said it would be a while. Rich was at work and I didn’t know how soon he could come and get me. So, I called Doris, the crew caller, at the railroad. When she heard my voice, she knew what to do! “I’ll get on the radio and call him in. The train’s across town, but it won’t take them long to get back.” (Doris had assured us that if there was a blizzard and we couldn’t get to the hospital, she’d call a train out to come and get me and take me to the hospital. The train ran about a block behind our house, and right past the hospital in town.)
Hanging up the phone I tried to figure out what you were supposed to pack to go to the hospital and have a baby. I was sitting on the couch waiting when Rich came running in. He was excited. He helped me get into the truck. I laughed, because he’d thrown his lantern down on the floor of the truck and it was still on! We made it to the hospital about 3:40 a.m. And then we waited.
I had a terrible backache. The nurse asked when I’d had my last contraction and I said I didn’t know. What’s a contraction feel like? She murmured, “This is going to be a long day.” The doctor came in about 8:00 a.m. and said it would probably be tomorrow (Wednesday) before the baby was born. The baby was quite large, so he had them take x-rays to make sure it wasn’t twins. Loran and Candy (my brother & his wife) came to wait with Rich and took him out to breakfast. I waited. I remember watching the clock and waiting. I remember Rich rubbing my back. I never felt a contraction.
But about 11:30 a.m. I told Rich to get the nurse. She seemed to walk in slow motion until she checked me. I was ready to deliver the baby. She ran out and called the doctor who was at his office seeing patients. Dr. Jack and Dr. Jaggard both came within 10 minutes (I could just picture people in their exam rooms waiting, and waiting, and waiting). They rushed me into the delivery room. Dr Jack told Rich if he wanted to see the baby born, he’d best get in there!
One push. I remember asking, “Where’s my baby?” Dr. Jaggard, who was there to help should the baby be too big to be delivered, patted my stomach and said, “Right here.” Two push. The nurse said, “Look at that. He’s sucking his thumb.” Dr. Jack said, “Both thumbs!” Another push and Rich said, “It’s a boy! It’s a girl! I don’t know what it is!” Dr. Jack assured him it was a girl. It was 12:07 p.m. Tuesday, February 20th.
We got to hold our little girl, and Rich prayed and gave her back to God as he thanked Him for our blessings. The nurse came in to get my fingerprints and the baby’s footprint. Not to be left out, Rich put his fingerprints on the birth certificate, too.
Back in the room we discussed a name. Rich had been sure it would be a boy, but I felt Matthew Richards was a silly name for a girl. He didn’t want the name Kathryn. I did. We had talked about Karalyn after a dear friend. Or Kara Lyn. We named her Karrie (after a great aunt and a Grace Livingston Hill book) and Lynne (close to my name.) Rich wanted it to be Lynnette but I said that was too long of a name.
I remember sitting in my room looking out the windows and feeling so different. I was a mother. Spring was here. The snow was melting. The birds were singing. I had a baby girl. I was overwhelmed. The nurse came in and said, “Mrs. Goebel. Don’t ever use Baby Magic on your daughter.” They brought her in to eat and she was beet red. Poor Karrie. She was going to be allergic to everything.
I remember looking at the calendar which said February 20 in big letters. I asked if I could take it home. It’s in her baby book.
February 20 – God gave me the precious gift of a daughter. A daughter who continues to bring joy into my life.
Many daughters have done nobly, But you excel them all.”
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised.
Proverbs 31: 29-30