I have told the story so many times over the years, it is committed to memory. I can relay the details as if I were watching it happen right before my eyes.
A young mother, just a baby really, in the grand scheme of things… She was not able or equipped to take care of a baby. She couldn’t even take care of herself. She had been struggling. She had very little support through her pregnancy. She had checked in, and was taken up the stairs to a delivery room. Partway through her labor, the pains came every few minutes; Painful reminders of what she was getting ready to lose. Forever.
A Registered Nurse, going about her day like any other work day… thinking about how busy that day had been at work already. They had admitted a few babies into the nursery, and she had heard there might be a few more before her shift was done. As was her way, she would be skipping her lunch break again today. Her husband was working late. She hoped traffic wouldn’t be bad because she had to pick the kids up at the sitters before she got home to cook dinner. And they would all be ready to eat!
On a normal day, these two couldn’t be any further apart. On any other day they were separated by cultural upbringings, socioeconomics, 17 years of age, and just about 500 miles. But on this day, all that was between them was a few sterile hallways and doors.
In my mind’s eye, I see the hustle and bustle you would find in any hospital. People in the elevator, holding flowers and their coats, nervously avoiding eye contact with one another. A gaggle of white coats at the nurse’s station, tiredly looking through file folders. At the end of the hallway, a man stands in front of the vending machine, as hot coffee fills up his paper cup.
It is like any other day, in any hospital, across North America in 1974. But to me, it is the day I was born….