Job Thomas Smith

 

 

Lobelville, Tennessee

Sunday, July 27, 2003

10 pounds 4 ounces, 22 3/4"

 

      What a story this one is - one of my most memorable, to say the least.  Stacy was a long time friend of Dee Brunner, the midwife I had been working with for the past several months.  Dee and I had entered into a partnership for a short season as she had gone back to work as an ER nurse and was working 12 hour shifts and couldn't promise to always be available for births, and I was at the end of my certification process and needed someone to sign-off on me for births.  Our agreement seemed to be God-ordained and we were both very thankful. 

      Dee had attended a few births for Stacy and she was now pregnant with her 7th baby.  Stacy, her husband Mike, and their children had been living in a community in Finger, Tennessee but had made the decision to move farther East at 29 weeks of pregnancy which was approximately 2 hours drive from me.  They had chosen a much simpler lifestyle and were moving to a house with no electricity, phone, indoor plumbing, etc.  We would begin this adventure with a series of potential problems.  First, Stacy was a very private person and wasn't sure she wanted me to attend her birth as she already felt very comfortable with Dee.  Many of us have those same kind of feelings - things went so well last time and we just want to repeat everything as closely as possible in an effort to keep the comfort level stable.  Stacy was very careful, not wanting to hurt my feelings and I had tried to assure her that I totally understood and wanted her to have the birth she wanted and I would be at peace with her decision and would be available if she needed me.

      Dee and I had a little more than normal concern about the circumstances.  Would Dee even be off work?  Would be get there on time?  What about no electricity and the real possibility the birth would be in the middle of the night?  We had to be sure there were flashlights, plenty of candles or kerosene lamps, whatever.  And then there was the possibility of 100 degree weather.  The baby was due July 20th and the prospect of the heat was not something I looked forward to.  Another issue was the distance to a hospital should we need one - probably 1 to 1 hours away, plus no 911 service, no phones in the house and our cell phones wouldn't work in these mountains.  And then there was the issue of no indoor plumbing!  My mind just couldn't rest thinking about her having to make trips to the outhouse every few minutes in the pitch black darkness with only stars and the moon for light, up a hill, with a baby's head heavy between her legs!

      At one point, Dee asked her opinion about the possibility of she and Mike going to a hotel about 30 minutes from their home when the time came for the baby.  They did consider it but it just didn't seem right, to any of us.

      Dee and I rehearsed over and over in our minds "What we would do if ..."  We would have our vehicles should we need one, Stach had acquired an indoor 'potty' which would be a big help, the children would be sent to the neighbor's house and one of the neighbors had a phone if we needed to call someone.  None of us were really scared but just a little apprehensive at the unknown factors.  But absolutely nothing we thought of prepared us for what happened.

      When the baby decided to come, of course it was night and, of course, Dee was at work and couldn't leave until her shift was over at 11pm.  Stacy seemed to be at peach with me coming on to be with her.  I was pleased because I had grown to love her and really wanted to be at her birth.  I arrived at 11 pm and when I pulled in their yard, in the dark quietness of the beautiful country, Stacy met me on the porch with a flashlight.  When I got out of my truck, her first words were, "I'm so sorry - my contractions have stopped!"  I wasn't about to drive right back home and Stacy really didn't want Dee to make the trip for nothing so we decided to go to the local community phone or at least get to a place where my cell phone would work to try to call her at the hospital.  We left Mike sleeping soundly on the couch and the children were already at the neighbor's house.    When we couldn't get her on the phone, I assured Stacy I really believed she would want to come on anyway.  On our ride there and back we had a sweet conversation about our faith in the Lord, which seemed to be the tie that bound our hearts together.  The feared weather couldn't have been more perfect, not even the least but unbearable.  What a beautiful night for a birth!

      As Stacy started to relax, the contractions seemed to start up again.  Once we were back at the house I encouraged her to try to get some rest while she could so we both lay down.  Dee arrived shortly after we got settled down.  We got up to greet her with a funny look on her face, saying she had locked her keys in her truck with all her supplies.  At least I had mine, so we would deal with that problem later.  We fisited for a short while and then all decided to get some rest.

      Stacy woke us up walking at 4:20 am having contractions every 5-6 minutes lasting 45-60 seconds.  She had been able to sleep about 3 hours and felt much more rested.  Stacy seemed to need to be alone so we left her pacing in the bedroom while we watched through the open door of the living room.  Then something very sweet happened.  I heard a gentle whistling noise.  At first I didn't know what it was.  Then Dee laughed and whispered to Mike, "Mike, she's whistling."  Unknown to me, this seemed to be a common phenomenon for Stacy at the time of birth.  We listened to her sweet birth song as the rooster, who had perched himself on the rail of the porch started crowing.  The sound of those two in sing-song harmony will forever be in my heart and mind!

      As Stacy began to moan, Mike, realizing the time was very near, knelt behind her with a blanket in his hand, patiently waiting to catch this new addition to their sweet family.  At 6:40 am a beautiful baby boy, Job Thomas, weighing 10 pounds 4 ounces, slipped into his father's hands, just the way it should be. 

      Then, after a perfect birth, the most unexpected thing happened.  Dee went out to the back porch to get some water off the wood stove to help clean everything up.  Mike had made a fire in the stove earlier so we'd be sure to have water for clean-up and for coffee.  The next thing I knew, I heard Dee in a frantic voice saying "Ooh, Ooh!"  I ran out into the hall to meet her pointing to the back porch saying "Fire!"  The stove had gotten so hot, it had caught the wall around the flu on fire!  Stacy, in total control of the situation, started barking orders to me to go next door and get the neighbor.  I didn't feel comfortable leaving her and this new baby who was not even ten minutes old so I stayed with her while Mike and Dee tended to the fire.  After a few minutes and many pitchers of water doused on the fire, it was finally out.  Dee told me later the reason she was so frantic was that when she was a child, her family had a house fire and that incident threw her instantly into that frightened little girl standing in the corner, watching the fire.

      After everything calmed down, we finished cleaning up and helping Dad dress this beautiful baby.  To top off a beautiful birth experience, Dee cooked us a lovely country breakfast on the old wood cook-stove, a breakfast that brought back memories of my childhood and my grandmother's kitchen.  As the sun came up and the day began, it was Sunday morning and before long we could hear the clippity-clop of horse drawn buggies on their way across the mountain to church.  Every once in a while someone would stop by to see the new little one.  After a quick look at the precious bundle and the normal questions of Stacy's well-being, the question would pop out of Stacy's mouth - "Did you hear about the fire?"  We would all laugh once again at a very un-laughable situation.

      Dee and I made the trip home later that day with plans to get her spare keys and return the next day to get her truck and check on Stacy.  After the initial shock wore off, Dee and I were recalling the events of the evening and both got so tickled.  Dee said, "You know, I thought and thought of every conceivable problem we might have and rehearsed every one in my mind, but not once did I ever think of a fire!"

      On our way back the next day we stopped to get Stacy some gifts and saw a self-contained fire-truck.  We looked at each other and burst out laughing again, agreeing that this needed to be our next piece of Midwifery equipment.  Then we would be prepared for anything!  Ya think?   What a memory!  What a joy!

 


 

 

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