Elephant Child Arrives|
2015 by Karen Radford Treanor
families have a knack for turning normal events into high drama; some
can only manage farce. Our family usually produces a hybrid. In
March 1998 we had a weekend one would not willingly repeat, although
it has become progressively more entertaining as time goes on.
before midnight on the Friday my elder daughter Bethany went into
labour while visiting us for the weekend. Her brother Eamon said
he’d drive her to the hospital but not without me, because
don’t want to see anything icky.” We borrowed a
station wagon which had been left in our garage, as I felt it could
function as an impromptu delivery room if required. At the hospital
we hung about the waiting room while the midwife checked Beth over. Of
course, everything stopped—again—but they decided
keep her in overnight. Fortunately, her twin girls were staying with
the other grandparents for the weekend. However, her partner was at
a friend’s house and we couldn’t think of his last
(the friend, not Stuart), so couldn’t call him. If
had Beth’s phone with its list of numbers that would have
helped, but it was in the carefully packed suitcase we’d left
in my kitchen. Eamon and I paced the floor in the waiting room and
watched a “Get Smart” rerun and several Ab-Fab
shows before being sent home at 3.30 a.m. Saturday.
a.m. my younger daughter rang to say she’d run over a brick
the highway on her way to work and blown a tyre and had no tyre iron.
Could Eamon please come rescue her?
At 9 a.m.
Beth rang to say they were sending her home, and could someone
please come and get her?
Erin on her mobile phone and told her to send her brother onwards to
the hospital once he’d fixed her up. He duly arrived, fixed
her flat, and she went off to work. Eamon went on his way, and was a
few miles from the hospital when a man in a four-wheel drive
“assumed there was no-one behind the bus” as he
later testified, and
went through an intersection at speed, collecting Eamon along the
me on his mobile whilst still trapped in the somewhat-worse-for-wear
car, to say he was alive and seemed uninjured and that some nice
people were picking glass out of him through the stove-in door and
trying to get him out, and he could hear sirens on the way.
off and I rang the hospital to tell Beth (a) don’t panic and
(b) we’d be late picking her up. I felt it would do no good
tell her why we were delayed, so omitted that part of the story. Beth
later rang back to say she had found Stuart and he was on his
way to get her.
Eamon back on his mobile and listened to him fight off the ambulance
men, who finally decided he was probably o.k., having extracted him
from the wreck via the passenger window.
police arrived (handily this all happened a stone’s throw
Police Central) and wanted a statement, after which Eamon asked for
his father to come and get him. My husband’s car was not
working very well, because when Eamon changed the spark plugs he
forgot to tighten one of them, so Gene took my car and mobile phone
and set off for Perth. This was a calculated risk because my car had
been having the megrims and was booked in for diagnosis and treatment
on the Monday. Eamon’s car was even less reliable, as it had
a crack in the carbuerettor.
about Eamon possibly having concussion, amnesia, whiplash and/or
cracked cervical vertebrae, so rang our other son-in-law Jason at the
caryard where he worked. He went to the scene of the accident
(handily only 5 minutes away) and loaded Eamon, the baby car seats,
and such loose possessions of Bethany’s as he could find into
demo car he’d grabbed from work. He took Eamon back to his
office and fed him sweet tea until Gene arrived.
cousin’s car was towed off to a holding yard, pending the
arrival of the other driver’s insurance assessor. Beth was
towed off home to once again await the arrival of the baby that was
by now being referred to as The Elephant Child.
evening, I sat with a glass of Laphroig contemplating what
learned that day: never leave home without your mobile phone,
run over bricks, and check your spark plugs yourself.
things to consider: Beth and the twins weren’t in the car
it was T-boned; Eamon was in a big station wagon, not his Beetle; the
other man was insured; the police got the names of witnesses; and
cousin Christopher, the actual owner of the station wagon, took it
all rather well when the girls phoned him later on. (From twelve
thousand miles away he didn’t really have a choice.)
Elephant Child finally arrived on Palm Sunday. That morning at 4
a.m. Erin rang to say she and Beth and Stuart were at the hospital
and this time it looked like a go. At 5.20 Stuart rang to say
midwife says any time now.” Five minutes later Erin rang and
said “He’s here, he’s beautiful,
Quinn--9 pounds 6 ounces; exactly his mother’s birth
weight--was launched upon the world two weeks late and fighting fit.
All he did for his first day was eat and goggle at the large stuffed
toy gorilla that Uncle Eamon gave him. He had a lot of black hair
and dark blue eyes, no neck to speak of and the usual assortment of
appendages, including a nose that promised not to be a button. (And
Elephant Child is now about to graduate high school and plans a
career in the army. I await with interest to see if any future
adventures come close to the drama of his final prenatal fortnight.
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