Dial 911

I’ve been off the map because almost seven weeks ago my third daughter was born. Her birth wasn’t easy. It never is, but this was about as far from the peaceful homebirth that we had planned as you could get. The birth story is a novella in and of itself, but I’m going to zero in on one slice of it. Handling emergency.

There were some complications and at the drop of a hat, our midwife was yelling, “Luke, get the car ready! No, wait! Call 911!” I had been here before, sort of. With the birth of our first daughter, things were getting rough and we decided to call 911 for a transport, but in that instance, I wasn’t the one calling. We had others there to help and somehow I knew things would be fine. And they were ultimately. She was born at home just as the firemen and paramedics were walking through the door. This was different. I knew this could be life or death and I was filled with fear. My heart was pounding out of my chest, but here’s the weird part: my mind was calm. I was holding my 2.5-year-old and our 5-year-old was looking on, and I knew I couldn’t be the one freaking out. I ran to the back room to grab the phone and dialed. I talked fast, but I got the dispatcher all the info he needed and stayed on the line conveying info from our midwife to the dispatcher. Throughout the entire ordeal (which lasted on through the next week), it was the same. My heart was out of control, physically and emotionally, but my mind was always clear.

We’ve had friends that had to dial 911 and they couldn’t remember their own address or couldn’t convey coherent thoughts which ultimately delayed the response. It’s crazy, but I know it happens all the time. In times of emergency, a lot people freeze up or make poor decisions. I’m very thankful that wasn’t what happened to me. I’m not special, obviously, but I have thought back to that moment, that day, that week, and wondered at how I was able to handle it so calmly. Life experience? Genetically passed on nerves of steel? Faith? Dumb luck? I don’t know. Oh, and just so I don’t leave you hanging, Aliya is fine now and is a perfect, healthy baby.

How have you dealt with emergencies?