My father has kept a daily journal for over 50 years. He started it when he was about the age of 13. It takes up many note books and a whole shelf on his bookcase. Recently, he started typing up portions of it. This one, as you shall see is rather important to me.
ASH WEDNESDAY, February 27, 1974
Clear and cold
This was our red letter day, At 7:43 this evening, Carolyn gave birth to an 8 pound, 8 ounce baby boy, who was 21 inches long. His name is Karl. Thanks and praise to God, mother and child are doing fine.
The process of bringing Karl into the world took the whole day. When we awoke this morning at 7:00, Carolyn said that she had been having abdominal pains for some time at regular 20 minute intervals. She called the doctor and he told her to call back at 8:00 old her call back at 8:oo. Carolyn then went to take a shower and I got dressed. She called the doctor back at 8:00 and w as told to come right to the hospital. We left immediately, without pausing to have breakfast. Carolyn couldn’t have eaten anyway. One of the things we heard repeatedly at the expectant parent classes was that the mother was to be showered, and .arrive at the hospital with an empty stomach.
We followed Route 17, S. Summit Ave. route to the hospital. We parked the car in the hospital parking lot and walked the short distance to the lobby of the St. John building. Carolyn was quickly admitted to the hospital. They asked her to sit in a wheel chair and then took to an elevator. I was told to wait in the lobby. They would let me know when I could join Carolyn upstairs. They told me I would have time to go to the snack shop for breakfast which, I did.
It was a little after 10:00 when I was able to take the elevator to the third floor and go to room “D” in the labor area and be with Carolyn. There was precious little I could do except sit there and give Carolyn and give Carolyn some moral support. The pain came fast at 6 minute intervals. The pains were severe and then at two and three minutes. The pains were severe and Carolyn uncomfortable most of the day. The nurse’s doctors were in and out during the day to examine Carolyn or to give her medication to ease her discomfort to ease her discomfort. They explained they couldn’t give her very much medicine because whatever was given her was also given to the baby. Around 1:30 I went to the snack shop and had lunch and then when I returned to the room the nurses said that they had just given Carolyn a sensitive. The nurses thought it might be better if I left rather than staying. I followed her advice. I returned home to complete preparations for the evening service. I hated not being at the hospital when the baby was born. As soon as I got home I phoned Luther College to ask Phil Worthington if he could possibly take this evening’s service for me. He was not in is office when I called but returned the call a little later. I had sent the evening looking through my Alcester sermons to use one for this evening in the event that I would have to preach. When Phil. Called back he said that he would be happy to help me out this evening. I thanked him and told him what I had planned to do at this evening’s service. After speaking with Pastor Worthington I phoned John Whitehead to tell him what was going on. I then set up the equipment that would be needed for the evening’s service and then headed back to be with Carolyn in the hospital.
As the time drew near for the baby to be born Carolyn’s discomfort was increasing. About an hour or so after I returned to the hospital, the doctor’s told me that the time ad come for me to go to the lobby and wait for news. It was a little after 7:00 when I began the lobby vigil. I sat and walked and watched the second hand on the clock creep around the clock Around 7:40 I called St. Matthews o speak with Pastor Worthington to make sure that he had everything he needed for the service. He assured me that he did and said that Carolyn and I had all of their prayers and best wishes. I thanked and then returned to the couch in the lobby. The lobby area was closed by now. I saw no one except an occasional cleaning woman, I was alone.
Around 8:30 one of the women in the registration office called my name and said I could go to the third floor. When I stepped from the elevator Dr. Palsy greeted me congratulations say saying I was the father of a son: 8 lbs. 8 ounces. He assured me that Carolyn was fine. He said that the Karl had a birth on his abdomen which would be no problem. He said that the baby might have a small hernia on either side of the crotch but later said that could be wrong and so what they thought were hernia-might just be the undecided testis. The pediatrician would know better tomorrow. In any case there was no cause for anxiety. He then invited me to see our son. I was surprised at how big he was. He was lively and cute. The nurse opened the diaper to show me the birthmark. Karl has a cute little cleft in his chin. I stared at him in rapturous wonder and then went in the delivery room. I told Carolyn that I thanked God and her for the gift of a son.
Carolyn was feeling much better by now. We chatted for a few minutes ten she rested. I called the church so the news could be relayed to Pastor Worthington and he in turn could tell the congregation, I then returned to Carolyn and stayed with her until 9:15. Then we agreed that I should return home to make the phone calls to friends and relatives. It was just a little before 10:00 when I returned home. I met several ladies just leaving the fellowship hour following the service. They offered their hearty congratulations. I went the church to get the tape recorder to record the phone calls so Carolyn could hear them. Everyone still at the church the choir members at practice offered their hearty congratulations. I thanked them all and then went home to make the calls. I called, Harold and Dorothy, my folks, Anita and Dennis, The Nerbecks, the Harm, and the Holsts. I tried to call Bob and Drea but they weren’t home. I stopped calling at 10:445. I had late snack and then retired and fell into a deep, restful sleep.