Forty-four years ago this morning, a Wednesday, I showered, dressed, and watched Steve eat breakfast, knowing I should not. My friend Enid had told me of a similar situation when she ate a big breakfast and regretted it.
And why should I remember such a trivial event? Because I was scheduled to be induced that morning to give birth to our child—our first child. At that time, we did not have the option of knowing what gender this child was. We referred to “it” or “the baby.” We were eager and excited and glad to be at the end of a frustrating month of waiting, since this child was supposedly due August 5.
My friend Sue had called me on Monday from the hospital, saying, “Where are you? I thought you were supposed to have that baby before I had mine!” and laughing. I was disgusted, too. Didn’t this child want to be with his or her parents? Evidently the womb was just too cozy and comfy.
We were at the hospital by 8:30 and the process began. Dr. Giglia informed me it shouldn’t take long, but it seemed a long time to us. Evidently to him, as well, because at 1 p.m. he informed me he had a golf game scheduled and would turn me over to his partner, Dr. Gunn.
Steve hovered nearby, in and out, but wasn’t allowed to stay. He saw the pain I was in—no epidurals yet, at least in St. Luke Hospital of Fort Thomas, Kentucky—and was miserable himself. He was afraid to go to lunch because he wanted to hear the news immediately.
A little before 3 p.m., he asked the nurse if she thought the baby would come any time soon because he was quite hungry. She assured him he had time to eat, so he went to the cafeteria and ate a Twinkie, then rushed back. As he entered the waiting room at 3:15, the nurse said, “You have a baby boy!” Since much of our family life centers on eating, we thought it appropriate that he was eating when Josh was born.
Yes, it was a boy, and we proudly named him Joshua Empson Boyd, wanting a Bible name and a family name. His Uncle Wilburn Empson was quite proud Josh was named for him since he had no children.
Steve called his parents to tell them the news, and they were excited. He called my parents, too, and when he told my mother our baby’s name, she said, “Joshua! Why that’s an old man’s name!” We wished he’d thought to say, “Well, we hope some day he’ll be an old man,” but instead he was speechless.
When I was finally taken to a room, I was delighted to find that my roommate was my friend Sue! She’d already been there two days (we stayed four or five at that time) and was doing so well she was pleased to wait on me. She was not breast-feeding and I was, so she gave me all her coffee, too. I was thrilled to drink coffee again since it had made me sick during pregnancy.
Steve went out to a nice dinner to celebrate and brought me a dozen roses and a lovely porcelain little boy. Treats for both of us.
Back then, only fathers and grandparents were allowed to visit new mothers and their babies, which meant we knew we would have no visitors until my parents came. But we did! An older woman from our church came walking in the door, grinning. “Thelma!” I exclaimed. “How did you get them to let you in?”
“Well, when I asked for your room, the lady said, ‘Are you a grandparent?’ I said, ‘I sure am!’ and she let me in. She didn’t ask if I was this child’s grandparent!”
We got a kick out of it and enjoyed her visit.
By the time I was dismissed from the hospital, Daddy and Mother had come and she stayed to help us at home. She totally redeemed herself from her critical remark by being so helpful and non-critical for the week she stayed with us. She got us through several small crises and was super-helpful with Josh at night. She’d get up when he cried, change his diaper, and bring him to me to nurse. I don’t know what we’d have done without her.
So every August 23 I remember that event, a milestone in our married life.
I marvel at how things have changed in labor and delivery since then.
I marvel that I’ve been a part of the birth of each of my four grandchildren.
I marvel that our son is such a man of God. I marvel that God so greatly blessed us with this child. And this man.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him. Psalm 127:3