This Grand Vocation

When I heard my pager beep at 1 am and the phone ring before I reached the pager, I knew I was probably going to miss this birth. JIM had been in a hurry to call and accidentally paged me first. He said, “SHELLEY’s in labor, and her contractions started right out at two minutes apart.”

I didn’t ask anything more, but just did the bare essentials (I HAVE to brush my teeth) and headed to their house. I was out the door at 1:10.

No call from JIM on the way, but you never know what that means. Either things were moving more slowly and I would make it, or the baby had arrived and he was too busy. I didn’t want to think about complications as the reason he wasn’t calling. But the possibility nudged at my mind, while I drove as fast as the deer would allow.

As I pulled into the campground to park at their home, I had to slow for a fat skunk waddling ahead of me. I didn’t want to annoy it at all, so although I was feeling hurried, I let it mosey out of my way, and I slowly passed by. After parking, I grabbed everything and headed up the porch steps and on into the house. A smiling boy greeted me—a smile that made me think he already had a baby to report to the midwife, who was late. JIM said, “You won’t need everything—the baby boy is already here! He was born at 1:32.”

I heard a little cry, and the boy who greeted me said happily, “You missed it!” like it was a game at which mom had beat me!

I took a peak at the little fuzzy-headed baby nestled into SHELLEY as she tried to get him to nurse. I was pleased to see that he was nice and pink. After a quick fundal height check, I got my bearings on what needed to be done next, and JIM began filling me in on what had occurred. We looked the placenta over as we talked. This baby was born in the bathroom, as had the other two (totaling three babies born in this house), and JIM was good at giving details that you usually have to coax out of other husbands. But this baby put him “one-up” with the midwives. He had now caught five of his nine children (more than half!) without a midwife present. He jokingly told me that he’d look into the midwifery business if it was this easy. I told him if it was always this easy, we wouldn’t even be needed!

I did the newborn exam with two children watching and getting me baby clothes and asking questions, while SHELLEY rested, pleased that it went so easily. When I announced that the newborn weighed 6 lbs, 14 oz, the boy next to me said, “YES! I’m the biggest baby still!” He proudly told me he had weighed 8 lbs, 2 oz when he was born. In a family full of boys, this one found a way to be unique. I think it’s great that he knows his birth weight and has an understanding of birth and how the placenta works.

I dressed the baby (JIM was jokingly calling him “Ocho”—“eight” in Spanish because he’s an eighth son!) and checked things over one more time before heading home.

The skunk was nowhere in sight, but I could hear the waves of Bear Lake gently slapping the shore. I hadn’t noticed the peaceful sound when I was hurrying into the home a couple of hours before. I smiled at this “job” I get to do, still in awe of finding it—or it finding me. Life is good, and another baby has made it safely here.


  1. avatar Autumn Rose says:

    Such a sweet story Laurie :-) I’m glad all went well for this family. Maybe my next will be quicker like this. But then we would miss our time with you…we are so grateful to have had you a part of our story.

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