I just realized that today is the last day of February and I haven't recorded a Hawley family miracle for this month yet. So here you go........
On February 8, 1983 I went for my prenatal check up with Dr. Wilson, one of Asheville's finest Ob/Gyns. Only one month til the due date and we were incredibly excited!
Frank and I listened to the strong heartbeat of our baby. And smiled knowing that "Joshua Franklin" would soon burst onto the scene, full of life!
(We had already painted and prepared our blue nursery. Ultra-sounds of that time revealed little more than extremities and beating hearts. We painted the nursery blue three times. As most of you know, we were blessed to have three daughters - no sons!)
Dr. Wilson grabbed our attention with a startling statement, "If I were on call, we'd go ahead and have this baby tonight!"
Smiles froze! Breathing stopped! Somewhere a clock ticked! Everything went into slow motion!
TONIGHT? Did she just say this baby could be born...........TONIGHT?!!!
Frank and I stumbled out of the office and made the long drive home. Once inside, I immediately lay down on the couch and put my feet up. Way up. Like keep the baby steady, up!
We were not emotionally prepared for a baby to arrive just yet!
But two days later things began happening. Contractions started making regular appearances. Every ten minutes, regular.
We called our doctor's office fully expecting to be told to wait and make the forty-five minute drive to the hospital the next morning. We'd heard all the horror stories of first time parents rushing to the hospital multiple times only to be stamped - "False Alarmists!"
Not me. I wasn't going to the hospital until it was absolutely necessary. I might be young and inexperienced but no one was going to accuse me of confusing indigestion with labor pains! No way!
"How far apart are the contractions now?" the nurse sounded casual.
"Oh, about seven minutes," I tried to match her tone.
"How long have they been consistent like that?" she sounded a little more interested.
I scanned the paper we'd been using for recording purposes. "Oh, probably.....an hour........I guess."
"Mrs. Hawley. A storm front is approaching our area. We will have blizzard-like conditions very shortly. You need to get to the hospital before it's too late." Now the nurse sounded insistent and pretty intense!
"Well, you know this is my first baby and I don't want to seem......."
"Mrs. Hawley!" she interrupted urgently. "You need to get to the hospital now! Before that baby has to be delivered by firemen!"
"Oh. Oh, okay," I stammered. "We'll be there as soon as possible."
The craziness began - phone calls to parents; dog delivered to sitter; call to the church board! At long last, Frank gingerly escorted me to the car, threw my suitcase in the back, dashed around to the driver's side and we were off!
Contractions now five minutes apart.
The snow was already several inches deep as we nosed onto the highway leading to Asheville. We didn't have chains; we barely had tires on our old sedan. Frank creeped along trying to see past the windshield wipers slapping full tilt!
The storm was directly over us dumping massive amounts of fluffy white precipitation! What normally delighted this Florida transplant, now seemed dangerous and even menacing.
Ours was the only car on the four lane highway. My young husband, who normally loved driving, sat hunched forward; hands gripping the wheel; eyes focused straight ahead. This was serious! So I started praying silently.
"Oh Father, I don't want a fireman to deliver this baby. I don't want to be stranded on this road. Please, help us get to the hospital in time! Please Lord, help us make it to the hospital safely!"
Just then, from out of nowhere, came an eighteen wheel tractor trailer rig. The massive unit not only had tires, there were nine sets of chains cutting a distinct ditch through the ice and snow.
Frank wasted no time in directing our car up and over the embankment, positioning our own tires in the ruts created by the huge truck.
We didn't talk; too distracting. It felt like we barely breathed for the next hour as the tractor trailer cut the path directly toward.........the Asheville hospital! Frank stayed precisely one car length behind!
Slowly, cautiously the truck crept along making tracks that held our car on that dangerous mountain road.
When it became apparent that we would get to the hospital in time, we began to wonder how we could make the truck driver aware of the miracle he'd helped to provide. But the hospital exit appeared and we realized that our truck driving angel would journey on...........completely unaware.
Frank flashed his headlights as a "thank you" while he eased our car up and over the snow trench.
In just a few short hours, Kristin Nicole rested peacefully in my arms while I rested against Frank. We marveled at the beauty of our 6lb.7oz. baby girl; whispering so as not to disturb her slumber.
"I'm so thankful that God sent that truck driver at exactly the right moment. Without his help, I'm not sure we would have gotten here in time." Frank finally gave voice to what we had both sensed.
"I wish there was some way to let him know. Some way to say thank you!" I smiled down at Kristin's perfect features.
Frank had a stroke of genius, "Write an article, Baby! You can write an article telling what happened and make it an encouragement to anyone who drives a truck for a living!"
It took thirty years, but here it is. Thank you, from the Hawleys!