A Truck Exploded and Two Were Born

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[Editor’s Note: This post is today’s featured entry in the Journey to Motherhood with Ricki Lake story contest. Find out how to submit your story and see the video message from Ricki here -- you could win a wonderful prize package! -- Jenna]

When a woman tells you her story about giving birth, you will most likely hear words like Miracle, Joy, Husband, Beautiful and Love. My story also includes words like, "exploded" and "drove backwards for two miles in a police car." That's just how I roll.

I was nineteen when I had my first child. I was living in upstate New York and my husband was in Pennsylvania at basic training for the Air Force. By the time he was ready to graduate, I was almost 2 weeks over due. Throughout the pregnancy I had only been to the doctor a few times and had only a basic idea of my due date. I didn't know I was over due. My mother and I decided to make the long journey to be there in person. This decision, as you may already have guessed, proved to be a bad one.

Graduation was over and the three of us were headed back home. It was an easy, uneventfully trip at first. nd then we hit massive traffic. After over an hour of sitting in what looked like a long, very narrow parking lot, people started getting out of their cars. I had started feeling contractions earlier but now they were getting more intense.

Everyone was trying to figure out what was going on, going car to car and mingling with our fellow freeway captives. At the time, the road was under construction on one side. This was over 20 years ago when cell phones were rare. Cars were backed up as far I could see in either direction. Finally, after another half hour or so, we found out what had caused this stand-still. A truck carrying gasoline had caught fire and exploded. Traffic was backed up for miles and I was in labor.

We had made friends with our new automobile neighbors. It was those new friends who reached out and held my hand through each contraction. People started to go car to car to pass along the word that we needed a nurse or doctor. There were large cement barriers lining the left side of the turnpike. It seemed like only minutes had passed when I noticed two women, in the back of a pick-up truck heading my way on the gravel road that sat on the other side of those barriers. I was informed by these kind women that they were qualified nurses who were ready to help me give birth in the back of the truck. Right there, in the middle of this crazy parking lot.

I should have panicked at the thought of giving birth in general, instead I was horrified that 4 men had been recruited to lift my humongous pregnant self over that waist high chunk of cement. There I was in a white dress, being hoisted up in the air. I felt like the Stay Puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters. NOT attractive. (Note to self: all pride has disappeared.)

I sat there in the back of that pickup protesting. I was telling everyone involved that I refused to let my child come into the world under these circumstances. They just smiled, laughed a bit and told me I may not have a choice in the matter. Thankfully, I didn't have to protest long. The police showed up on that same gravel road but from the opposite direction. There was no room to make a u-turn so the officers helped me into the car and drove frighteningly fast, in reverse to the exit. My mother had to stay with the car and that meant I had to go with my husband, who I had not seen in months. A husband who had punched me in my pregnant belly the last time we were together.

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