Another day at the office…A near birth experience…

I was minding my own business in my police car with a 44 ounce iced tea between my legs, a handful of sunflower seeds in my mouth, one hand on the steering wheel, and the other wrapped around my seed shell spit cup, when I nearly ended a man’s life.

That there was a white man in the neighborhood I was driving in wasn’t really that shocking in and of itself. That he suddenly appeared out of nowhere and was now standing in the middle of a traffic lane, directly in front of my car, however, was.

I hit the brakes hard, causing my nearly full tea cup to lurch forward into the steering wheel. The contents of the bag I carry all my work shit in over on the passenger seat flew onto the floor board and I yelled, “What the fuck??!!!”  to nobody in particular before stepping out of my car.

“What the fuck?!” continued to be my theme as I thought it to myself while looking at the man with no brains standing in the middle of a busy, six lane roadway.

We made eye contact and I guess the look on my face was enough of a clue that I was pissed off and curious as to why he was throwing his body in front of my car that he immediately apologized and pointed towards some nearby apartments.

My anger turned to laughter (inside laughing only) as I watched this guy jumping up and down like a monkey as he pointed towards the apartment building.

“What?” I said?

He pointed and jumped and pointed some more.

“What is it, sir?” I was beginning to feel like Timmy’s mom talking to Lassie and trying to coax information from her as to whether or not something had taken place at the old mill.

While dummy continued to stand in the middle of the road jumping and pointing asininely at the nearby apartment building, a tall, older woman caught my attention by shouting out, “Officer.”

“Yes ma’am. What’s going on here?” I asked her.

“There’s a woman in there maybe going into labor.” The woman answered.

She pointed towards a gate that was normally locked, but that was being held open at this time by a little girl wearing a Girls on the Run tee shirt.

“Hey, sweetie.” I asked. “Did you do Girls on the Run?” I asked as I tried to stall for more time while thinking “please God don’t let there be a woman in labor beyond this gate.”

“I did do…”

“Malika!!” A woman shouted and cut the little girl off. “Let that man tend to Shanika.”

Ugh, I thought to myself.

Not 20 feet away from where I was trying to enjoy a conversation with a little girl at the gate to the courtyard for this apartment complex, there was a woman very clearly in labor, or so she thought.

“Fuck me.” I thought to myself.

While I know we’d all like to believe that our police officers are well trained in CPR or first aid and that such activities as suturing up sucking chest wounds or delivering children in an apartment courtyard are second nature, the truth is…they are not. Not to all of us, anyway.

I walked over the the very obviously pregnant woman seated in a plastic patio chair and asked her name and when she was due. She introduced herself as Shanika and said that she wasn’t due until October. She also said that her baby, well, she said “He” hadn’t moved all day. That was unusual, she said. He’s normally very active.

It worried me to hear her say that because number one, I’m not a Gynocologist, number two, I’m not even a podiatrist, and number three, I ain’t no sort of doctor PERIOD!

While I feel more than qualified to give expert advice and information to moms and dads to be via this blog or during conversations where the mom to be either isn’t even pregnant yet, or at least isn’t in the process of giving birth as we speak, when it’s the real deal event, I’m not the main man for the job. Also, in spite of my non-expert status at baby delivering, I still recognized that no movement seemed like a bad thing.

I noticed the woman was wearing a McDonald’s uniform and had a neck tattoo that seemed familiar to me.

“Are you going to work now?” I asked.

When she got done breathing hard and screaming in pain, she told me that she was sent home early from work. When I asked her which McDonald’s she worked at, it turned out that she worked at the one in a nearby truck stop that I like to visit from time to time. Her and I have talked before, but I don’t think she remembered.

We talked for a couple of minutes and then she suddenly got those pains again. She bent over in her chair and began breathing hard all over again, all the time barking out orders to her boyfriend about what she wanted him to bring to the hospital.

I laughed at the look on his face. He had that deer in the headlights look that I’m sure I had when my first was born eleven years ago last week.

I stopped laughing when Shanika started to contract again.

There were many other people around by this time, none of whom was a fucking doctor or nurse or midwife or online birthing video fetish enthusiast.

“WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE!!!???????” I screamed inside my head.

I offered the woman my hand and she squeezed it tight as fuck. She was strong, and she was in labor to boot. “THANK YOU!” She yelled.

“WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE!!!?????” I screamed inside my head again, but this time I had company. Shanika had yelled out the same thing as I was thinking it!

“JINX!” I said, to which she looked at me like I had seven heads. “Never mind.”

I was suddenly taken back to the only other time I was involved with the birthing of a child that wasn’t one of my own.

It was also while I was at work and it had also involved a lot of “WHERE THE FUCK IS THE AMBULANCE??!” screaming.

I don’t feel like reliving that moment, but suffice to say it was a disgusting, disturbing, bloody, messy, gross, messy, disgusting and beautiful, if not disgusting and messy, experience.

It was a boy, by the way.

I knew the boy’s grandmother and I ran into her at the chicken palace a few weeks ago. She was all excited and told me to come to her table, fast!

She introduced me to her grandson, the one that was a messy, disgusting sight to behold just thirteen years before. He was now a tall, much less disgusting young man with impeccable manners. I was very impressed with him and like to think that I played a small part in him growing up so well thus far.

Anyway, back to the six lane roadway.

By the time I’d snapped out of my trip down memory lane, the FUCKING AMBULANCE had arrived along with several fire trucks.

“You want us to take over, or do you want to do this?” One of the smart asses asked.

“Thanks for showing up, jerks,” I said. “Thank God nobody was dying.” I took off my plastic gloves as a sign of surrender.

“It’s all yours, boys.” I said.

As I was walking away, Shanika yelled that I better come see her for some free Egg McMuffins or hamburgers. I laughed at how absurd it was that she was thinking about anything other than her own pain and baby at that moment.

“She’ll be a great mom.” I told myself as I got back in my car.

Having been through four births in my life, minus my own, I was pretty sure that Shanika was going to be leaving the hospital in a few days as a new mom, so I was more than a little surprised to see her at work the very next day.

I looked at her and said, “What the fuck?” as I pointed towards her belly.

“Was that you yesterday?” She asked.

“It was.”

She ran from around the counter and nearly knocked me over with a bear hug that was completely awkward and wonderful at the same time. She smelled of french fries and milkshakes, so I loved her for that.

“I didn’t do anything, dear. I just held your hand for a minute while you crushed my bones with your strong, pregnant lady grip. How are you not holding a new baby right now?”

She smiled a wonderfully huge smile and told me that the baby was just in a weird position or something and that’s what was causing her pain.

She also said that she had sat in that chair for several minutes in pain surrounded by neighbors and her own baby daddy to be, and not a single one of them touched her or tried to comfort her from any closer than ten feet away.

“I think he was scared. You were yelling at him pretty good. Understandably so though.” I was trying to stick up for the poor bastard.

She said that when I offered her my hand, she was so grateful and relieved. She said she felt safe.

“Awe. That’s really sweet, Shanika. You just made my whole week. Do I get free egg McMuffins today?”

She laughed, nodded her head and took my hand to lead me to the register. Her hand was soft and warm, with just the right amount of squeezing this time. “She really is going to be a great mom,” I thought again.

They were the best egg mcmuffins ever.

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52 Responses to Another day at the office…A near birth experience…

  1. djmatticus says:

    But, who was the man who had stepped out into traffic?

  2. Great post! It made me laugh out loud in some spots and say ”Awww” in others. Thanks for making my morning! I was about to get a Pepsi from vending to wake myself up. Now I don’t need to, but I might anyway because I like Pepsi. :-). Have a great day!

    • Hahaha, thanks, Danielle! I told that story to a friend in passing as though it was just another whatever day at work and he told me that I’ve lost sight of what’s out of the ordinary anymore and that I should blog about it. He may be on to something. I like Pepsi too!!

  3. So awesome. I loved this post.

    Unlike you, I do hope to heroically deliver a baby someday.

    • Lol, once was plenty, thank you! I hope you get your chance, if that’s what you hope to do one day. You could either follow pregnant women around and scare them into labor or get your butt into doctor school and become a baby delivery doctor and do it that way. Good luck!

  4. barbtaub says:

    This was a wonderful post and I’m with Danielle… (sniff! giggle…) Said it before and I’ll say it again… Almost every single person in your city is incredibly lucky that you’re on the job.

    The one possible exception is, of course, your wife. The poor woman is married to a guy who still approaches the Miracle of Birth with screaming and cursing—despite a lead role in at least four birth situations (five if we count your own, but I’m guessing you were too busy looking for breasts and screaming to pay much attention to the mechanics of the process. Plus you probably couldn’t pronounce that many swear words yet…). SO glad you’ve added one more piece, the comforting handhold, to the screaming and cursing. I think you’re ready to deliver babies full time. Or at least drive cabs during natural disasters. Win-win: you’d have plenty of blog fodder, and you’d never have to pay for your own breakfast sandwich again.

    • Oh Barb, you always make my head swell just a tiny little bit, so thanks for that! I suppose in some way it’s a miracle up to that point, but the actual process of expelling the thing is pretty nasty. I stand by that.

  5. No baby? So whole thing was about scoring free Egg McMuffins the entire time?

  6. christine says:

    My dad the policeman would most certainly choose busting a drug dealer over delivering a baby. I wouldn’t even want him in my hospital room while I gave birth.
    You did excellent work! Goes to show, you never know when the smallest gesture will truly affect a person.
    Gotta say, though, if you’re going to eat a nasty McDonald’s breakfast, at least go for the sausage McMuffin with egg. Especially if it’s free. 🙂

    • Hmmm, busting a drug dealer involves paperwork, whereas the baby delivering doesn’t so there’s that. It would be a tough choice between my lazy and my anti gross things I’d rather not do. Lol. I get what you mean though. We’re programmed to fight crime, so the other stuff is more freaky to us.

  7. Paul says:

    Awesome Don. The other commenters are right – you live such an unusual life, you have taken it for granted and we find it fascinating. I’ve never seen a child birth and I’ve been around more than half a century. You’ve seen 4. The guy jumping up and down in the middle of the road, who couldn’t speak was hilarious. At least you didn’t lose your lunch – Ha! Keep up the great posts Don, they are awesome.

    • Thanks, Paul, as always. You could probably see you a birth on the internet somewhere, but it’s not the same as a live one. Still gross, yes, but not quite the full effect.

  8. You rock my world! And you also obviously rocked Shanika’s world too. Isn’t it funny how the smallest gestures (that you’d think anyone could master, like holding a fucking pregnant lady’s hand while she may be in labor) can mean the most?

  9. Carman says:

    Donnie you’re my hero!

  10. tric says:

    Great read Don, although I was sure you were going to say she was constipated!

  11. Thank goodness that ambulance showed up – finally! All that worry and all you had to do was hold her hand! You are a nice police dude. 🙂

    • I was very relieved because there was a crowd gathering and when that happens, they all look to the police officer to make things right. I’d have done it, but it would have been awful for everyone involved, I’m quite sure. Plus, I have no doubt that it would’ve ended up on Youtube as one of those instant classic “you must watch this cop screaming like a woman” things. Lol.

  12. REDdog says:

    Be careful as you approach ledendary status mate or it’ll wind up being the Ambo’s screaming “Where the fucks Don?” before you know it! Bloody champion btw.

    • Thanks, Red. I like to think I’m a legend in my own mind already, so there’s that. Hahaha, you’re good people, but those EMS folks never seem to beat Don to our mutual calls. They’re always coming from far away somehow.

  13. Loved this, Don. I understand why Shanika was so touched by your presence. When I was in a similar state, I was very relieved to have a nurse hold my hand and say reassuring, comforting words to me at a very difficult time. Blessings to you for being there and offering comfort when it was most needed.

    • Thank you, Judy! I was injured once and going into the hospital and still remember a nurse touching my shoulder and reassuring me, and that was many moons ago, in high school. It’s the little things like a soft touch or soothing words that can really make the difference, so I try to offer those when I can.

  14. 1jaded1 says:

    You are the compassionate one, and don’t you deny it. Where the fuck is the ambulance…classic.

  15. claywatkins says:

    great story – actually two great stories – the first and the almost. You are right, Shanika will make a great mom… I am glad you were there for her. Have a great week, stay safe and don;t run over anyone standing in the middle of the road.

  16. dusterbed says:

    A great story, and awesome story telling! It’s funny how in emergency situations some people freeze, and others just act. Thank goodness for people like you!

  17. markbialczak says:

    Perfect tale, Don. You may not be a birthing specialist, but you sure do know how to deliver relief to a worried pregnant young lady. Way to go, Not-Doc.

  18. Blogdramedy says:

    Let us know if she names the baby after you. Officer Don. *grin*

  19. Shelley says:

    The Officer saves the day, again and gets a free McDonalds breakfast for is efforts. Well done!

  20. LisaListed says:

    You should get a matching neck tattoos with the woman… I’m sure the Sheriff would love that 🙂

    It’s amazing the things people would do for a free mcmuffin 😉

    Great read!

  21. Julie says:

    I totally “awwww”ed through this one.

  22. julie says:

    You are a great story teller Don!

  23. mollytopia says:

    Bahahaha “like Timmy’s mom talking to Lassie and trying to coax information” – awesome!!! And of course the rest of the post was very touching, and I’m glad you didn’t have to touch her business. You’re a good egg, Don. Speaking of, yay free egg mcmuffins – hooray!

  24. Stephanie Sprenger says:

    Aw, you’re one of the good ones, Don. I bet you’d make a great baby-deliverer. And also- I freaking love Egg McMuffins.

  25. How DO you do this? I love you, more than a little bit, Don. You’re such a good man. You should teach classes.

  26. hastywords says:

    Where have I been my whole life. You know how to tell amazing stories.

  27. List of X says:

    If you are not careful about staying away from those apartments in October, you may end up delivering Shanika’s baby for real. 🙂

    • Hahaha, yeah I need to watch it for sure! I hadn’t seen her at McDonalds in a while so I asked if she had her baby and was told the poor woman had been out because she broke her foot. Lol. She’s a mess.

  28. jgroeber says:

    Just catching up on my reading. And I have to say, if I was having birth pains on a lawn chair in the courtyard of an apartment complex next to a highway, there would be worse people to have hold my hand than you. Which is about the finest birth compliment I can manage. 😉
    Well played, Officer Don.

  29. Cheryl says:

    LOL! My BIL, the cop, would agree with you on birthing babies in his cruiser. I was eight months pregnant when he was at the police academy and had just done the “birthing” part of the training. He was young and single at the time and he pointed at me and said, “If I EVER get a pregnant woman in labour in my car, I’m going to tell her to cross her legs and hold it, I’m driving as fast as I can!”
    Glad you didn’t have to birth no babies. You’re awesome Don.

  30. Lolly says:

    Awwww…just catching up here, but this is truly one of those seemingly insignificant stories that bring our trust back in people and make us respect our local law enforcement. I can’t believe she was back at work! That made me sad, but you gotta do what you gotta do to survive I guess.
    I think it’s wonderful you were able to meet the young man later in life 🙂

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