Monday, August 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Ben

After a day in the dirt shed filling flats for pansies, then an hour in the garden picking tomatoes and swatting skeeters, it was time for a bath and a good hot one, too. As the tomato fumes lifted with the steam off the water, suddenly I was back two dozen years in memory.....

...We were in Washington, D.C. for a Farm Bureau Young Farmer and Rancher meeting. We'd finished our meetings in the cool offices of the AFBF and had been photographed with the current Secretary of Agriculture. It was hard for me to take this photo op seriously. After all, was I REALLY going to prominently display an 8x10 glossy of Blake, Secretary Lyng, and me, 8 1/2 months pregnant? By that point, packing for the trip had been easy; I had one dress big enough to wear comfortably.

But I had been feeling pretty good the whole time; we had been working on our house and I had a decent garden that summer as well. A walk up to Dupont Circle and a bookstore there sounded like a good idea; we had lots to talk about with our friend in D.C. That expedition was followed by another walk to the Market Inn for a much anticipated seafood meal with our group.

Once there, though, the menu didn't look that good. I decided to skip the entree but couldn't shake an overheated feeling. Instead of a pleasant evening with friends, I finally asked Blake if we could just go back to the hotel without making too much of a fuss.

Once out of the restaurant, I told him what I thought was the source of the sudden discomfort: I thought baby three was on its way. That pressure, that weight, that pain: even though it had been six years, it felt like labor to me!

An hour in our room, two hours passed, but no peace, no quiet. I took that bath and worried. We were in DC without a car, without a doctor, without that little bag you're supposed to have ready, without a plan. It was long before cell phones, but Blake called anyone we might know on the hotel phone in hopes of advice. No one would answer. Finally, he called our Congressman, explained the situation and asked for a hospital number and recommendation. The good Congressman was aghast. I had an even bigger sinking feeling, visualizing the call to the grandparents.....and Lee and Ann at home. We felt isolated and alone in the Capitol Holiday Inn. Finally, sometime after midnight, we turned off the light and left the consequences, the mom, dad and baby in the Hands that care for all.

.....And then! It was morning! We were still in our room and I was still a pregnant lady. That particular morning, I was one of the happiest pregnant ladies around. Our tale didn't sound nearly as harrowing in the light of day, but our friends were still impressed. We decided to keep the whole episode on the qt from the folks at home. We flew back to family and farm with no further incident.

Polite and prompt and organized as can be, John Benton Hurst waited until after breakfast, on his due date, to start his birth. Blake was just outside, building a grain bin with his dad and brothers. We waited quite awhile to leave for the hospital, stopping for stamps at the post office. No rush at all when you are just ten miles from your friendly Community Hospital and the doctor coming to meet you has already delivered your other children. Ben took his sweet time, meeting his dad for the first time at 5:24 that afternoon. But, after that initial scare three weeks before, we already knew the best way to bring this child into the world was to take a walk. And walk I did, for four hours, up and down the hallway of the solarium, until he was ready.

And I was ever so glad that time came in Missouri and not the District of Columbia.

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