If you missed part one, read it here.
“So…you think you are about to have your baby? …Has your water broke?… What’s your name?” I asked– as if I were a nurse practitioner and knew exactly what to do, having just finished my twelve hour shift at the local E.R. “No, but I know it’s coming. I’m going to pop!” the woman, Elena, said. She cast her eyes down towards the ground, clearly wanting something, but not sure what to ask; perhaps wishing she were in more capable hands. I felt so helpless as the more questions we asked, the quieter she became and the more she cried. “Do you live around here? Is there someone we can call for you? A husband? A boyfriend? A relative?” Rick inquired. “No.” She said softly. And more tears came.
Murphy was now sitting by the front door watching his two perplexed daddies go back and forth on the front porch:
Rick: “Go get her a bottle of water and some tissues.”
Keith: “Maybe she needs to use the bathroom?”
Rick: “Get a towel when you get that bottle of water.”
Keith: “Why do we need a towel?” “We aren’t going to deliver this baby here.”
Rick: “Just get one in case.”
By the time I returned with a towel and some water, Elena was grabbing the porch handrail and saying those words again that were freaking. me. out. “I’m going to pop!” Rick (or shall we now say Dr. Rick) stepped in to take control of the situation: “Okay, Elena. We’ve got to get you some help. You can’t have this baby here. We are going to call you an ambulance.”
Elena: “No. I need my Mom.”
Rick: “Ok, but you also need to get to a hospital. The hospital will contact your mom. Do you want us to call her while we wait for the ambulance?”
Elena: “No ambulance. Can you give me a ride to her house?”
Rick: “No. You need to go to the hospital. That’s what ambulances are for.”
Keith: “Listen, Elena. We want to help, but why don’t you want us to call an ambulance?”
More sobs came. After a sip of water she finally said, “I don’t have the money for an ambulance or a doctor or a hospital. I need to see my Mom. Can you take me to her house?” Now I felt even worse as my heart sank and I felt ashamed for not thinking of this sooner. Rick had already gotten the keys to his car, and was on his way to pull it around to the front of the house. I was horrified that this was not the right thing to do, but there we were, putting towels down on the front seat (!) and helping Elena get into the car.
Her mom lived on a poorly lit street about ten minutes away. Dogs were barking and people were peeking from behind the curtains as our car idled in the street. “Elena, this is just ridiculous. What if your mom isn’t home? Let us help you to the front door. Are you sure we can’t take you to the hospital now? It’s going to be okay. They’ll help you with financial arrangements. The most important thing now is to think about your baby.” Rick said, changing from Doctor to Dad.
Softly, Elena sobbed:”This is all I need. Thank you. I can make it to the door… dogs.”
Exhausted, we watched Elena get out and waddle to the gate. Someone was opening the door and calling off the dogs. She never turned around as she quickly became swallowed in the dark shadows of the night.
Rick looked at me. I looked at Rick. “Did that just happen? What should we do?”
We sat there as dogs barked and it was clear that we just needed to go.
As we arrived back at the house, Murphy was dozing on the couch as if this had been just any ol’ Saturday evening. It was a restless night as we tossed and turned and talked about Elena and whether or not we did the right thing. We wondered if she had her baby and if it was a boy or a girl. We wondered if she was okay, if the baby was okay, if she was in good hands, who opened the door, was she safe? We talked back and forth these wonders throughout the night as Murphy curled up between us at the foot of the bed, kicking his legs while dreaming dog dreams.
At least he knew what to do.