Susan had arranged ahead of time with another pastor’s wife to keep our two older children when it came time to deliver Daniel. However, Susan doesn’t like inconveniencing anyone. It was about 3:00 a.m. when it came time to leave for the hospital so Susan thought she would hold on for just another hour or two so as not to have to disturb our generous friends so early in the morning. After all, she was in labor with our first child for fifty-one hours (yes, 51), so there really wasn’t any hurry.
About 4:00 a.m. she realized she had waited too long, we were going to have to rush to get the kids dropped off and drive an hour and fifteen minutes to the Baptist Hospital in Little Rock. She made the phone call to let them know we would be dropping off the kids.
Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring. No answer.
Call again! Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring. No answer.
We could just go on to their house. The problem? They lived about twenty-five minutes out of the way we were headed. If we got there and they had gone out of town for the weekend….
Well, we could just take our five-year old and three-year old on to the hospital with us. But then I would end up sitting with the kids rather than being with Susan.
We called a couple from our church and they said to drop our kids off with them. We did.
Now, on to Little Rock. I suggested that I make a quick stop at the Waffle House to grab a cup of coffee. “It won’t take but just a minute, Hon.” Susan shares with me, ahemm, why anyone with more brains than an amoeba would never even think such a thought. We journey on.
Before we even get to Malvern Susan is hurting really bad. Her contractions are coming less than two minutes apart. She thinks the baby is really close. She has given birth to two children so I assume she knows a little about what she is feeling. I call the doctor’s on-call number and it is obvious that he was asleep. I ask him if I should stop at the hospital in Malvern? No, according to him a baby never comes as quickly as a woman thinks it is going to. Come on to Little Rock and have the the labor nurses call him after getting Susan checked in. “But sir, I don’t think you understand…” He is already back asleep.
I ask Susan if I can turn on the radio. Bad question. I ask if she would like me to coach her on some breathing exercises. Bad question. I ask her if she would like me to sing to her. Really, really bad question.
There are many tears, cries, and groans along the way. Susan asks me to stop the weeping, crying and groaning.
We are almost to the exit ramp to the hospital when Susan lets me know that the baby is coming NOW! Hold on just a minute I exhort her. Bad exhortation.
I pull into the Emergency Room entrance. Susan can’t walk at this point so I get a wheelchair for her. Admissions staff start asking questions about insurance, contact information, etc. They do not yet understand that the baby is REALLY COMING NOW.
A nurse walks out, takes a look at Susan, and immediately rushes her back into the Emergency Room while I continue to answer stupid questions. Sixty seconds goes by and someone comes out and says that if I want to see this baby born I have to come with him now.
I walk into the Emergency Room and there are no less than nine medical people in the room with Susan. Susan asks, “Is my doctor almost here?” A physician responds, “Maam, there are five highly skilled doctors in this room, don’t you worry about a thing.” Evidently, babies are very rarely born in an Emergency Room so all of the ER personnel wanted to witness the event. In addition to the five doctors there were nurses, administrators, the Dr. Pepper delivery man, …
Within four minutes of the time we entered the doors of the hospital Daniel Willmann Stilley was delivered. We were within four minutes of him being born in a Toyota van. I have often wondered if there might have been some kind of corporate sponsorship possible had that taken place.
On May 13, 2007 Susan and Daniel had a joint celebration. Daniel’s third birthday happened to fall on Mother’s Day this year. In recognition of Susan’s and Daniel’s German heritage we went to the Edelweiss Restaurant, laughed and told stories, ate more than we should, and some of us even danced. Yes, Baptists do dance, we just aren’t very good at it.