It’s been four years since I’ve written about my younger son’s unusual birth.
I promised not to write about it again until he was 30, but I think turning 25 is a milestone, so I’m reliving it.
Those of you who’ve read this story before, feel free to move on to other articles in this section, the comics or your breakfast. Those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, come on.
Disclaimer: If you’re pregnant, it will scare you, but the odds are slim that it would happen to you, too. How many people do you know who gave birth in the front seat of their car — on the Fourth of July?
Twenty-five years ago on July 4, I was in Malvern, visiting my in-laws and my husband’s grandmother to celebrate her 95th birthday.
It was hot as a firecracker; that’s for sure.
As I lumbered — and by this time, I had gained every ounce of 55 pounds — through stores downtown on July 3, a woman in an antique store eyed my humongous belly and pointed at me. She said I would have the baby that night because it was a full moon.
No, I told her. Scott wasn’t due for a couple of weeks.
As we watched fireworks in the distance that night, I looked at that full moon warily. “OK, Scott can come now!” a cheery relative said.
Sure enough, at about 2 a.m., I woke up. It was happening. Of course, the first thing I did was put on my makeup. John, my then-3 1/2-year-old, woke up when he heard us getting ready. I had to lie down with him and get him back to sleep. Then I told my mother-
in-law what was happening, and off we went to the little hospital.
The nurse examined me and called the doctor, who said we could make it to North Little Rock. She said, “Hurry — don’t stop for anything,” and she sounded urgent. That was our first clue.
We delayed just enough for my husband to put in his contacts. My pains started immediately, and my husband drove faster and faster. At one point, he saw blue lights going the other way on the interstate, but he didn’t slow down. The cop didn’t chase us, either. We also narrowly missed hitting a pedestrian.
I kept asking my husband if we were gonna make it, and he assured me we were. My mantra was, “PleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGodPleaseGod.” I vividly remember thinking: “I never have to do this again.”
My husband first went to the wrong entrance, squealed around to the emergency-room entrance and ran in to find a doctor.
I was sitting in the front seat of the Bonneville, henceforth known as the birthmobile. Unlike in TV shows and movies, babies don’t wait when they’re ready to come.
I took off my seat belt, and Scott Robert Keith, or Scott Rocket, as his Aunt Katie calls him, made his appearance as my husband came back to the car. I remember a hospital employee sauntering way behind my husband, pushing a wheelchair.
It was too late for that. My husband started helping deliver Scott.
The doctor — whose shocked face peering into the car is an image I remember — cut the umbilical cord.
It was 4:22 a.m. by the car clock. Scott had a birthmark between his eyes, which my daddy joked was where he hit the dashboard.
I got out of the car in an embarrassing state of undress, and I always wondered whether that was captured on security footage.
I felt great afterward, and I did not have to pay a delivery-room fee, which made my husband happy. Another memory is that the nurse, Gwen, peered down at me and said: “Is that lipstick?”
I was the talk of the hospital for 24 hours; then a woman had triplets.
Fast forward 25 years — and it has been shockingly fast. A quarter of a century is like a blink, and my baby is all grown up, graduated from college and living in Kentucky. He’s the most well-read person I know, with one of the best vocabularies, and he works at the public library.
He also sometimes drives for Uber and Lyft. I hope for him that he never picks up a pregnant passenger in labor who gives birth in his car.
But it sure would make a good story.
Senior writer Tammy Keith can be reached at (501) 327-0370 or email@example.com.