After Tom graduated A&P school- things weren't exactly peachy. He was having trouble finding a job as an A&P mechanic. He was really depressed. I ended up having to quit with the post office- as I couldn't keep a vehicle running and my babysitter quit.
One day in early August 1989, Tom got a call from Oklahoma. One of the applications he had sent out came to the notice of a small airline that was contracted to American Eagle: Metro. It was based in Lawton, Oklahoma. The folks at Metro flew Tom up for an interview- and offered him a job. We had two weeks until he started!
My mom drove us to Lawton and helped us house hunt. We ended up in a small town south of Lawton- Geronimo. Between Mom and our church friends, we were able to get settled into the new place very quickly.
Our wedding anniversary is August 3rd. I was wondering strongly if I was pregnant- an anniversary surprise! So I went to a free clinic and had a test run. It was negative. This was a few days before the call came for the job interview. So after we moved- I was sick all the time. I was blaming fall allergies, and the stress of moving to another state. Ben had been nursing up until shortly before we moved, so I had never gone back to my monthly cycles after his birth. It was about October that we figured out I was pregnant.
Since the test at the beginning of August had been negative, we had no other way to gauge an approximate due date. We figured sometime between late May and early July. I was adamant about not going to a hospital EVER AGAIN, barring an absolute medical emergency. We investigated midwives. The nearest we could find was almost three hours away- which was almost as close as our old home in Texas. (This was back before Algore invented the Internet)
We decided that we could do this ourselves, without a midwife. Probably.
We did our own prenatal care. When we would visit our old home church- Sharon (the midwife in training from Ben's birth) would check me out, as a friend. She agreed to let us call her if we needed advice over the phone, but she wasn't happy about our lack of midwife and my refusal to see a doctor at all. I figured if I had to be transported to a hospital, they couldn't be any WORSE than Petersmith was about Ben's birth.
I got really big with this baby. Sharon said she thought our 'due date' estimation had to be way off. I thought maybe I was having twins. Tom and I put together a birthing kit. I made up a week's worth of meals and froze them, so it would be easier to feed the family after baby arrived.
On Monday, the 16th of April, I woke up really early in the morning. I just couldn't get comfortable. As I flopped around trying various position on the recliner- my water broke. Actually, it probably just tore a bit. Hooray-
Monday passed. I began taking goldenseal as a preventative against infection. Since Tom would have been unable to judge dilation, and *I* sure couldn't check, we didn't do any internal exams. That was also a good measure to avoid introducing bacteria. My temperature was taken periodically. A friend from Texas came up, hoping to arrive in time for the birth.
Tuesday morning, I tried Castor oil. I got some GREAT contractions going, very regular. Then they stopped. I was taking things very easy. Tuesday passed. Wednesday came. I repeated the Castor oil, with the same results. Great, regular contractions- then nothing. I decided I better get my regular routine going again. The boys' schoolwork had been on hold, the laundry was piling up.
Wednesday night, I was beginning to freak out a bit. I was still getting periodic contractions, and gushes of amniotic fluids. No fever, but no labor either. I went into the laundry room to switch a load of clothes from the washer into the dryer. I was really praying hard for guidance from the Lord- should I go to the hospital? All at once I had a vision. I saw my baby in an incubator- all sorts of monitors and wires attached. I heard a voice telling me that:
"It is not time for my son to be brought forth- his lungs are not ready. Twice I have stopped your labor. When it is time for him to be born, I will deliver him".
I knew God had spoken to me. HE would deliver my baby when the time was right. I felt an overpowering peace flow over me. I went out and told Tom. He picked up on what I hadn't at the time: The baby was a boy! All along I was just sure it was going to be a girl.
My friend from the church had to go back home to her family.
The next several days went by as usual for us. Saturday, a terrible flu bug took down all of the kids. Tom dealt with Chris and Bill, I dealt with Becky and Ben. All four had it coming from both ends. I was still taking the goldenseal- still no fever- still sporadic contractions, but fewer bouts of leaking fluid. Baby's head was engaged. (This is probably the night we took the famous picture of poor little Becky asleep, face down on the toilet) About four something Sunday morning (the 22nd of April) I was carrying Becky back to her bed after her latest bout of potty-hugging. I tripped over a toy- but managed NOT to drop her or fall. It felt like something tore loose in my lower abdomen.
I went on back to bed, but half an hour later was awakened with some very business-like contractions. I sat up- and passed some of the huge liver-patties I had seen prior to Chris' birth. Labor hit in full force. I woke Tom, and we got our birth area set up, and the items we would need on to sterilize.
Chris and Bill woke up, and kept an eye on Becky and Ben. They all got to watch cartoons- a real treat. (No Cartoon Network, we didn't even have a VCR).
Labor progressed very quickly. I had my biggest baby- 9 lb. 2 oz- at 7:47 am. It was either the fastest - or the longest- labor I ever had, depending on how you look at it.
Monday morning, we went to Lawton to register the baby's birth. We had decided to name him Stephen Thomas. A few days later, it was decided Stephen really didn't seem to fit him, and we attempted to change it. It was too late- the paperwork was already on file at the State office, and we would have needed a court order. So we called him "Tommy"- diminutive of his middle name. Once we left the registrars office on Monday, we headed over to the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge, one of our favorite place. Baby and I sat in the sun while the rest of the family hiked.