By Jody Fuller
In the wee hours of the morning on October 12, I jumped up out of bed with my heart pounding like I’d just averted an IED. I heard Lucy yelling my name and the faint sound of a crying baby. I was in a state of panic, albeit briefly, as I realized it was just a dream.
A few hours later, I played a round of bad golf at the Auburn Chamber Golf Classic. Lucy texted me just as I finished up. The timing was perfect. It’d been a rough 32 weeks of pregnancy. She’s been sick for most of it, and now, the exhaustion was kicking in the door. She texted because the cable man was coming early.
I was tired, too. I went to bed that night without getting a shower. My stinky golf clothes were on the floor. I think I slept for 45 minutes when it started. It was a little past 1:00 a.m. on Friday the 13th. My life was about to change forever.
I’ve been sleeping on the couch to give Lucy extra room in the bed. I heard her call my name. Apparently, she called it a couple of times.
“I don’t want to scare you or anything, but she just kicked really hard. I mean really hard,” she said. “I think I’m having contractions, too. I’m going to call the hospital.” And, she did. They advised her to come in just to see what was going on. On top of that, she drove. She’s not a fan of my driving. She started having contractions during the drive. She went from 80 MPH down to 20 in a split second. I was scared to death and was still wearing my dirty golf clothes.
We made it safely to the hospital, but those contractions were no joke. She turned all “Incredible Hulk” on me a time or two. I think she wanted to smash me.
They planned on sending her to UAB via helicopter; however, due to fog, they put her on an ambulance. I chose to follow behind in our car, but the EMTs told me not to try to keep up. So, I took my time and stopped to get gas. I was also a nervous wreck. A nurse, Jana, rode in the back with Lucy. I gave her Lucy’s phone.
I kissed her and told her I loved her—Lucy not Jana. She returned the favor, but there were still some Hulk sounds in the air. I completely understood. I have a whole new respect for women going through labor. I couldn’t do it.
I was making my way up Highway 280 when my phone started buzzing. It was Lucy, but I figured it was Jana using Lucy’s phone. Well, it turned out to be Lucy, and there were no Hulk sounds. She went from 80 to 20. She sounded like an angel.
“She’s here,” she sweetly said.
I think I said “who” and “what” about a dozen times, and I wasn’t even stuttering.
“I had the baby. She’s here, and she’s beautiful,” she said.
I momentarily stopped freaking out and started tearing up, and then I started freaking out again.
They’d made it just a few miles past Russell Medical Center in Alex City, when it happened. Thanks to a brave mom and a fabulous nurse, she actually gave birth on the move. The ambulance safely turned around and got mom and baby back to Russell.
I was literally in front of Russell when she called. By now, she was already in a room and the doctor and nurses were working on the baby. I ran in and went left, but that was the wrong way. Then I went right. That was the wrong way, too. I was then told to go to the third floor, and that’s when I saw my baby, Abigail Jennings Fuller, for the first time. She was about 20 minutes old. She was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes on.
I then saw Jana. This time, I did kiss her. I was ecstatic.
I finally made it to Lucy, who was being seen by another doctor. She was so brave, strong, and courageous throughout the whole ordeal. I could not have been prouder of her. Both our moms live in Tallapoosa County and were able to make it there quickly to see Lucy and the baby. That was no doubt a God thing. Unfortunately, Lucy had to stay at Russell overnight, while the miracle child and I went on to the NICU at UAB. At some point during the night, I finally got out of those stinky golf clothes and took a shower.
Abigail Jennings is the most precious child I’ve ever seen and is doing so incredibly well. I’m not just saying that as an optimistic father. God has truly laid his hand on this miracle child. We are so lucky to be her parents, even if she was born on Friday the 13th.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com