Monday, November 19, 2012

Ginny: A Baby Story

Today, Monday, November 19th, will be marked as the day MacKenzie helped a woman give birth. Holy shit. I'm so excited to tell this story, because for the rest of my life I will remember the day that a complete stranger needed me in such a personal, emotional way. I'm forever changed. I can't even think.... but I'll start at the beginning.

This Monday did not start off on the wrong foot...just a weird one. The right foot. What a weird foot. I woke up late and called into work saying I'd be a little late, which they were problem, see you when we see you. WELL. Little did I know. I called a taxi, and they said it would be 40 minutes. Which would put me to work only 10 minutes after I was scheduled to be there. No problem. The taxi man LIED... an hour later I was getting more and more anxious and I said screw it... I'll walk to the bus stop and take the next bus out to work. The reason I like taxi-ing is because the bus line doesn't get you directly to my work, you have to walk a ways after that and during the cold winters.... not fun. So I took the bus and left the taxi man and his lying ways in the dust! But, guys, I'm not bitter...

I got off at the closest stop to my work and began walking. A lady was waddling down the sidewalk. I remember thinking, 'THAT GIRL PREGGGGG.' Which, if you're not MacKenzie, you would have said, 'Oh, wow. She is pregnant.' I just kept walking and we passed each other and I said 'Hello.' It's one of my favorite Minnesotan customs, saying hello to random people you pass. While I was saying 'Hello', she whispered 'Help me.' So..... it didn't go as planned. Before, when she was waddling past me and I was saying weird remarks in my head, I didn't notice that her navy blue dress was damply red on the bottom. But, as soon as she quietly whispered for help... it was all I could look at. I immediately pulled out my phone to call 911.... and guys, this is where it gets good.

She threw my phone in the woods. Like, THREW IT AWAY. I asked why she did that and then thought, let's not fight with the crazy preggo lady... So I went to go find my phone and she starts running (well, her version) away. If you ever want to get in a foot race with a pregnant person in pain.... you can allow yourself some time to relax and maybe eat a sandwich. They don't get very far.

Let's take a break to talk about my emotions, shall we? I'm PISSED at the homegirl for throwing my phone. I'm laughing because I don't think anything funnier has ever happened to anyone. Ever. I'm sad because this lady's dress has more and more blood on it. I'm scared because she may in fact be crazy. And in the back of my head, I've never been more excited....I can't tell you why. But I think it was because I didn't know how this was going to end, I just knew I was going to see it through.

I find my phone, and it won't turn back on. Awesome. I shout after her that I won't call 911 if she stops running. She stops side-stepping. We're near a busy street, and I ask her if her water has broken. She simply nods. I ask if she is avoiding going to the hospital, she nods. I ask if it's because she doesn't have health insurance, and she doesn't move. I've never been confronted with this before. Someone who can't go to the hospital. I asked a slew of questions after this. If she has anyone she can call, if she would like to go anywhere safe, how I can help her through it. I just wanted to keep her talking. She was getting more and more groggy.

And then, ladies and gentlemen, I did something so disgusting I will forever be scarred and I will never talk about this moment after I type it... I looked down. She kept asking me how bad it was and I didn't know. I've seen my fair share of Grey's Anatomy episodes and I'm the first to watch the John and Kate Plus 8 episode where she gives birth.... but this? No no no. But, I saw her face. And I saw how scared she was, and I knew that if the roles were reversed... if I had no one to call, no where to go. I would need someone to help me. I looked and she was a whole-lotta- dilated. Look it up. First, it was disgusting. I am not sure what I was looking at... but if I was a prisoner of war all the opposing team (are they teams in war?) would need to do is show me a picture of what the vagina is capable of during childbirth and I. WOULD. TALK. It was insane. I didn't think of this at the time, but she was in so much pain because she had no medication. Most women get an epidural or some medication to ease them through the process. She didn't have anything. Secondly, I knew that she was dilated enough to 'push' or whatever. She asked me again how bad it was. And... I was honest.

This is when my emotions got the best of me, and I started to cry. Not crazy, snot running tears... But I quietly whispered that I didn't know what to do. And that if she let me call someone, if I could find someone to help us, she would be much safer. I will never forget that moment for the rest of my life. I didn't even know her name, but I cared so much about her and her baby... simply because she whispered, 'Help me.' That's what it's all about. I keep wondering what makes people so selfish, and if there is a single human being I know that wouldn't have stopped to help this woman. I pray the answer is no, I don't know a person that would do that. But they're out there... More on that later.

She fought me at first about getting someone to help. And what I said next makes me proud of myself. Makes me feel strong. I said 'You can either sit here and feel sorry for yourself, or you can make the decision to try.' BOOOOOM, MOTHA FUCKAAAAAAA. Her facial expression was hysterical. Kodak. Moment. She actually laughed. After some more convincing, she agreed that it was too painful to stay where we were and we needed someone with more experience. I went to reach for my phone and remembered that someone had thrown it......

So, I did the next best thing. Jumped in the middle of the street and stopped a car. Like, picture a movie where the person puts their hands on the hood of the car as it screeches to a halt. OH. YEAH.

The man started swearing at me and called me a drunk psycho to which I kindly responded, 'Shut the fuck up and listen to me.' We're best friends now, it's cool. I explained the situation and he immediately rushed to the woman's side. Larry, the man, then asked the question I had forgotten to ask: Her name. Her name was Gwendelyn, but everyone calls her Ginny. [So, as she was saying my name is Ginny help me, I was hearing my name is Ginny, yes from Harry Potter, you were sent here to save my life by JK Rowling. I mean, it's fate...] Larry is a father of four, so he's seen his fair share of births, and he knew that Ginny needed to give birth soon. I ran to his car to grab his phone, and he tried to calm Ginny down. He was a very sweet man. Very respectful to her, and to me, which didn't go unnoticed.

I called 911 and I so wish that I could get a copy of the phone call...because I'm sure it's one for the record books. There were many a swear words, many a laughing cries of fear, a whole lotta 'you gotta get here quick' and 'do you understand? A BABY!' happening in that phone call. The woman was very kind...but as I got closer back to Ginny, it was clear we were at T minus 0 minutes. It was happening.

Back to Larry The Great, he told me to hold Ginny's hand as I stayed on the phone, and he was coaching her the whole way through. It was amazing. I sort of forgot about the disgusting part, and only thought about how this young woman may have had to do this by herself somewhere down the road if no one had stopped. I'm so glad I did. We could hear the ambulance as Ginny gave the final push and welcomed her baby boy into the world. Larry passed the baby to me and I held this little life in my hands. At this point, I was snot-nosed sobbing. There was so much more to do that day, there were so many details that needed to be worked out, but it didn't matter. Ginny had a son.

The EMT's got there and took care of everything that I don't want to ever have to experience in my life. Afterbirth and allllllaaaa that. Ginny must have become naturally high through the process because she kept calling me her sister and saying I needed to come to the hospital with her. Larry said that he needed to go pick up his son from pre-school. Apparently his son decided to cut one of his classmates hair, something I'm sure Ginny has to look forward to. As Larry left, I didn't feel right leaving Ginny, so I decided to ride with her to the hospital. I watched as she cradled her son, not worrying about any of the messy details to follow. It was then that I realized I truly knew nothing about her. In the ride over, I found out everything.

Ginny was in an abusive relationship this past summer. They met in April, had casual encounters if you will, and by summer were living together. Ginny is about my age, a few years older. That's crazy to me. To be the same age and in such a different phase of your life. She told me about how her boyfriend became horrible after learning Ginny was pregnant. He threw her across the room, told her if she didn't get an abortion he would kill her. One night a couple of months ago, Ginny left to go stay with a friend. She mentioned that the worst part was, he didn't care. He let her leave and didn't make a fuss about it. Didn't try to contact her at all.

Because Ginny is on her own, it's hard to pay all the bills and take care of herself. I didn't know it at the time, but Ginny delivered almost a month early. The baby was tiny, but aren't they all? She said she was walking on the sidewalk with blood stained clothes because her boyfriend had tracked her down and had thrown her down a flight of stairs.

Even writing that... It makes me shake. This story isn't about him, though. It's about Ginny. Ginny fought on going to the hospital out of fear that her name would be in the system. Without health insurance, she thought the baby could be taken away and the boyfriend would somehow get custody. Not likely, Ginny has told the police everything and it's on record and all the legal stuff is being taken care of... Plus I doubt lack of insurance is grounds to take your child away. I think? I don't know. All I know is Ginny is going to be an amazing mother and given the right mindset and opportunities, she will get herself out of this rut and create an brilliant life for herself and her son.

So that's the story of how I helped a stranger deliver a baby. A lot more happened. Larry came back to the hospital with his son, who's name is Ron. There is no coincidence... It's mother effing fate. Ginny called her mom, who didn't know Ginny was pregnant... to tell her she is a Grandmother. Ginny will be going to her mother's house after she's released. The EMT told me that he's never heard of a story like this. Three strangers helping each other through an experience like that. And isn't that the truth. Sure, we helped Ginny deliver, but... Ginny helped me, too. Every day I wake up and go through the days like it's a chore. Classes are an obligation, homework is a waste. No way, man. It's a privilege. Each day you wake up is something to cherish, and the people you encounter through those days help shape who you are. Ginny helped me see that. And for that, I'm eternally grateful.

She hasn't picked a name out yet, but I made a few suggestions. Fred, George, Bill, and Percy were among the list....


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  2. Just. Oh my god. Oh my god! Just. Flippin'. JK Rowling and new life and... there are no words. God put you in the right place at the right time.

  3. That is SO amazing. MacKenzie, you're an AMAZING person. I want to be like you when I grow up.

    - Erika Sasseville

  4. I think MacKenzie would be a great name for a boy.
    Ann Bergeron

  5. Also... PLEASE send this story to JK Rowling.... lol

  6. I also have one more tid-bit, in case you are unaware...J.K. Rowling's youngest daughter is named Mackenzie. Rowling dedicated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince to her. So Larry and Mackenzie delivered Ginny's baby, and Ron showed up at the end to say hello :-)
    Great story!

  7. That is awesome - you stopped and took charge! Congrats for doing so and being lucky enough to be part of the miricle of life. She was lucky to run into a Minnesota-nice girl like you!
    PS - you are an amazing writer!!

  8. I love this!!!
    What a unique commute to work.
    Thanks for sharing!