It’s Wednesday – I look out of the front window of our home on Trebor Rd in St. Joseph, Michigan. A storm of unbelievable intensity has blown ashore from Lake Michigan. Ultimately, we are days from the end and more than 10 days from the area being dug out. Honestly, I am just a bit on edge – Susie is DUE!!! BOY IS SHE DUE!!! We are working on over 72 inches of snow. Yes, that’s right – 6 feet of snow!! My neighbors are nervous too – they call, check in, “can we do anything?” Not really, unless you can get rid of this snow!!!!! I go into the garage to check out how we are doing – I raise the garage door – and look UP at the snow! UP for god’s sake?????? And it’s still snowing – hard. Lots of wind. I can’t even see the outlines of the road through our subdivision. I quietly ask – “Please God, not tonight!”
Thursday the snow lightens but the wind is still whipping things around. The drifting isn’t getting any better but I feel a need to make an effort to get us out. Yeah, right. But, being young and stupid I tell Susie I’m going to shovel a bit. She’s camped out on the couch. She has plumped right up with our unborn little one. We have no idea whether it is a boy or a girl. Honestly, Susie is ready for the little tyke to be born. It has not been a pleasant pregnancy. Morning sickness has been an all day affair. Amazingly she has kept her sense of humor throughout. She’s going to be a great mom!
So, out I go – into the wind and snow to “dig us out”. I face a snow drift 6 feet plus high, two cars wide and 50 feet long. The word impossible comes to mind. Yet, I dig in. And dig in. And dig in. And dig in. . . . . . . . . . . yep, I was right – impossible. Finally I have had enough and pack it in. I have nearly a single path dug out for a single car. I need rest.
As I enter the house through the garage is hear a pitiful cry! “Willie!!” “Willie!!” “ I gotta pee!!!!!” I’m puzzled – why not just get up and go?? Coming into the living room I see the problem. She is so big she has rolled into a position where she can’t get up! With total disregard to the “10 second rule” (see earlier post) I look at her, laugh a bit and holler “whale on the beach!! Whale on the beach!!” I admit, Susie didn’t see it in the same humorous light I did! I helped her up, waited for her to come back from her potty break, and went out to finish my shoveling. Finally, with the light fading, a single path emerges. I go back into the house and collapse.
Friday morning – lots of activity on our road. First a front end loader takes a huge shoves and then it dumps it into a dump truck. Once filled, it trundles off to the shore of Lake Michigan - as another takes its place – and dumps its load into the lake. A couple hours pass and finally I have a path to the main thoroughfare and, more importantly, a path to the hospital. I’m feeling better about things and getting Susie to the hospital if I need to.
Early afternoon. I hear a call from our bedroom – “Willie – my water’s broke!!” Yep, it has in deed. Bags are grabbed, miscellaneous junk we feel we need to take and off we go. It’s a short trip to the hospital – less than 5 miles. Yet the snow is amazing. We look up at the top of the snow banks all the way. Hard to believe!! Honestly, I have totally forgotten the arrival and check in process. My next memory is that we are in the labor room. Have I ever told you how pokey Susie is?? Sssshhhhhhheeeeeee tttttaaaaaakkkkkkeeeeeeeesssssss fffffooooooorrrrrrreeeeevvvvvveeeeeerrrrrrrrrrrr – to do anything. Why should giving birth be different? It’s getting late in the afternoon, contractions are far apart and I have an errand to run – I need to buy a car. Yep, buy a car. Susie assures me there’s time (she was more than right), so off I go to the local Dodge dealership. I had picked out a new Omni and today was the day I was to pick it up. The car is brought out and I sit with the sales guy. Paper work, paper work, paper work. I ask him how long it will take. He says it’ll be a bit. I tell him I am sorry to rush him, but my wife is in the hospital and in labor. He gets the strangest look on his face. “Really??” “Yep” I say. He hands me the keys. “Come back Monday, we’ll finish this up. Good luck!” And I am outta there! Back to the hospital.
The labor is taking to long for the doctors liking. Petosen is administered. Now the contractions really pick up – down to 2 minutes apart – for hours, and hours, and hours. Finally, after a total of 37 hours, the doctor looks at us and says “time for a C-Section, this is taking too long and it’s hard on the baby.” This was before baby classes and training of the dad so I couldn’t go in the delivery room with her. I wait. And wait. Finally, a nurse comes and escorts me to the recovery room. I remember Susie rattling around on the gurney – a reaction to the drugs. But she is fine and there, next to her in a warming box is the cutest little critter on the face of the earth – a beautiful little girl. Christina Catherine Keller. Finally presented to all those present on February 4th.
Happy Birthday Sweetie, you’re still the cutest daughter we have!!
UPDATE: I became curious if there were any reports of this blizzard in the government record data base. This is a link to a great description of the blizzard. Seems it was as bad as I remembered.