The day I had a baby, almost

website - jim callicottI had known Mary Dale for a number of years. She was a lounge singer and I was a lounge patron. At the time we both lived in the same town. She was a very sweet lady who had the misfortune of being married to a very self-centered bum.

A divorce was in the future and the last thing the self-centered bum did before he left was get her pregnant. She wore a pair of loose fitting overalls to the divorce hearing because, at that time, a divorce could not be granted if one party, usually the woman, was pregnant. Divorce was granted.

As the time for the delivery neared she came to the hospital to make arrangements. It just so happened I was the person she had to see to make the arrangements.

After the paper work was completed we talked for a few minutes. Taking a deep breath she said, “The one thing I hate about this situation is not having anyone with me when I deliver the baby.”

I remember myself saying, “Mary Dale, I’ll go with you. I’ve delivered puppies. It works the same way.” She was happy I was going with her, but not too excited about the puppies and babies comparison. I felt like I was doing a good deed. Puppies, babies, they both enter the world the same way. What could go wrong?

She was about ten days past her due date when she informed me that the doctor was going to induce labor the next day. We had to be at the hospital at 7:00 a.m. I informed my staff I would not be there the next day as I was going to deliver a baby. I heard someone whisper, “Heaven help that poor woman.”

I don’t do 7:00 a.m. easily but I was there. We admitted Mary Dale and proceeded to the maternity ward. I was about to discover there is a difference in delivering puppies and babies.

I can’t remember everything that happened that day as my brain has, thankfully, forced me to forget. I do remember being in the room with Mary Dale when she started having contractions. Funny thing is, I too started having contractions.

She became nauseated, I became nauseated. Her contractions came again and I doubled over in pain. I was learning the meaning of sympathy pains.

After being in labor for a little past 12 hours she was screaming for someone to bring her a Bible. She was swearing off sex forever. I said give me The Book when she’s through and I’ll take the oath too.

When the time came for her to be wheeled into the delivery room I went to the waiting room to, of course, wait. I tried to compose myself but one of the nurses said I looked like a total wreck.

I asked for pain medication but she said I needed a doctor’s prescription. I said I deliver puppies and that makes me doctor-like. I was given two Tylenol and a cup of tap water. I had a lot of pull and respect in that hospital.

The baby came. It was a girl. She weighed 13 pounds and 3 ounces. I hurt where men aren’t supposed to hurt since we can’t deliver babies. I was thankful it was over and the three of us lived through it.

I will never forget the first words Mary Dale spoke as she was wheeled into her room. “I want a cheeseburger,” she said. Since mother and baby were doing fine, I said goodnight and went home.

As soon as I arrived home I called my assistant to tell her I was calling in sick the next day. I had been through a terrible ordeal and had to recover. I looked at my dog, a female dachshund and informed her that she would never become pregnant. Puppies or babies, I was not going through a delivery again.

Mary Dale remarried a couple of years later and I moved out of state. We kept in touch for a while but then lost track of each other. The last words she spoke to me were, “Thanks for being there when I needed you.”

The last words I spoke to her were, “If you get pregnant again, don’t call me.”

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