It Happened One Night

LOUISVILLE—The middle of the night, 3 a.m. It’s chilly. Maybe 30 or 40 degrees. A car squeals into the Baptist Health Hospital parking lot on two wheels. David Patrick is driving. His wife, Sarah, is in the passenger seat, having contractions.

“HOLD ON, HONEY!” he shouts.

She is grasping her pregnant belly. Breathing heavily.

As a side note, I was born under emergency-style circumstances, too. Sort of. My mother had to drive herself to the hospital. My father was working late. Her water broke in the car. She made it to the delivery room just in time. When I entered this world, my mother named me “Sean,” after Sean Connery, the actor who played James Bond.

When asked why my mother named me this, she answered, “Because Sean Connery is one sexy man.”

In all my life, I’ve never met another kid named after James Bond who successfully survived his childhood.

But getting back to David and Sarah. There they are, in dire straits. They jump out of the vehicle. They waddle up the hospital sidewalk. A pregnant woman can only waddle so fast.

“He’s coming!” shouts Sarah.

They are at the west entrance of the hospital, and security is tight at hospitals these days because—just in case you forgot—this is an international pandemic. The west doors are locked.

David pounds on the glass. “HELP!”

Nothing.

David tries two more entrances. All locked. Nobody answers. He scrambles back to Sarah. Now they are rushing back to their car. David plans on driving to the emergency room entrance on the opposite side of the hospital.

All of a sudden, Sarah stops shuffling on the sidewalk.

David hears a gush of water fall onto pavement.

Uh-oh.

“He’s coming!” Sarah says.

It’s a little ironic, David and Sarah are standing beneath the glow of a lit-up hospital sign that reads: “Labor and Delivery.” This is not a dream. This is your life, David Patrick.

He helps Sarah to lie down onto the pavement. Once she is on the cold ground, David thinks about what he will do next. He removes a cellphone, he dials a number. The conversation probably goes something like this:

“911, please state your emergency.”

“My wife’s having a baby on the sidewalk! Her water just broke!”

“Remain calm, sir. I need your insurance information.”

No, I’m only kidding, 911 operators would never ask for your insurance information until you’ve taken them out to dinner first. The truth is, while I was writing this column, I interviewed a few dispatch operators who have helped guide emergency births over the phone. Both operators said that it was one of the most rewarding moments in their career.

“After my first baby,” said one operator, “I was so worked up when it was over, I cried for probably 20 minutes. That’s how much joy you feel.”

Anyway, what the operator actually told David to do was remove his wife’s pants, right there, in front of God and country. So he did, then he placed the phone on the pavement and asked the operator what to do next.

The voice on the phone guided him the whole way.

David recalls, “My wife is screaming, ‘He’s coming! He’s coming!’ I suddenly see about a third of the top of my new son’s head, so I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh. This is really happening.’”

He tells her to push. She does. Sarah’s face turns red, veins in her forehead pop. She gives it all she has.

“Push,” says the speaker-phone voice.

About 15 seconds after the head appears, the baby emerges from the birth canal.

“He just flipped out like a fish,” David says. “It was completely surreal, like a bad fever dream.”

The 911 operator walks David through the next crucial steps, too. David wraps his son in a swaddling leather jacket. David’s hands are crimson red, his clothes are covered in blood.

“Giving birth looks like a hog killing,” my 911 operator friend tells me. “Lotta people wouldn’t believe how much blood is involved.”

But David is hanging in there. He’s doing all the right things, he’s trying not to pass out on the sidewalk.

“Sir?” says 911 dispatch. “You’re gonna have to cut the umbilical cord.”

Do what?

So David looks around for sharp items, but there are none. He’s in the middle of nowhere, and he doesn’t make a habit of carrying surgical-grade scissors in his pocket. He has nothing but a COVID-19 facemask. His grandmother knitted these masks for the family.

“I found a mask and rolled it like a really tight tortilla.”

And David ties off his son’s umbilical cord with the straps from a coronavirus facemask.

In a few minutes, emergency lights are flashing in the distance. The night is filled with the sounds of an ambulance. Nurses are rushing from the hospital after they’ve heard what is happening. Soon, an entire medical staff has swarmed David and his wife like termites.

“Within a few minutes,” says David, “we had a real party going on.”

EMTs load Sarah and her newborn son onto a gurney. David is touching Sarah’s face, reminding her that it’s going to be okay. And if there is a dry eye in Kentucky tonight, it’s made of glass.

The baby weighs 6 pounds 13 ounces. He is healthy, happy, and they name him Navi Bond Patrick.

David explains the kid’s middle name: “James Bond is one of my all-time favorite movie franchises.”

Well, how do you like that.

12 comments

  1. Lucretia - May 21, 2020 9:45 am

    Thank you Sean for the reminder that true life goes on told as only you can, putting me there in the moment!

    Reply
  2. GaryD - May 21, 2020 10:26 am

    Sorry Sean, you lost me at the mention of blood. Hope this story ended well.

    Reply
  3. Eddy - May 21, 2020 12:08 pm

    Great story and story telling as always! Two things you and I have in common. One, we’re both mayonnaise connoisseurs. Second, I too, was almost named Sean as my Mama had the same impression of Mr Connery as your Mama. Then at the very last moment my father changed his mind and I was named after him becoming his Junior instead. Love Y’all! Stay safe over yonder!

    Reply
  4. Jan - May 21, 2020 12:39 pm

    Once again, I am in tears. Of course babies being born always make me cry – whether I am in the room watching them being born (grandchildren or working as a nurse) or having them myself (3 sons). Babies are such a miracle and watching a baby’s birth is watching God in action. I can’t help but cry at the beauty and precision with which God works and the joy those tiny infants bring.

    Reply
  5. Anne Arthur - May 21, 2020 1:45 pm

    That’s one crazy, true story reflecting today’s reality. Great account! Congrats and happy life to all the little and big ‘Sean-Bonds’ who enrich our world with joy.

    Reply
  6. Christina - May 21, 2020 3:15 pm

    Sean, who does the sketches for you? Love them

    Reply
  7. Linda Moon - May 21, 2020 4:18 pm

    Gable and Colbert made it happen one night. Your mother was right about your namesake, Sean Connery. Or she could have chosen Clark…either one. I think I’d like your mother, Sean D. So, back to the pregnant couple…”they” waddled? David waddled along with Sarah and hung in there for the whole way. What a man! ” And David ties off his son’s umbilical cord with the straps from a coronavirus facemask.” That’s a posterity sentence for David, Sarah, and Navi Bond that they’ll be talking about for a long time. Beautiful! I like that….David, Bond, Your Mom, and You…..all steps to the baby’s name and story!!

    Reply
  8. Ala Red Clay Girl - May 21, 2020 4:55 pm

    Great story!

    Reply
  9. Sonya Tuttle - May 21, 2020 5:02 pm

    Just so you know, my security password question of favorite actor is Sean Connery. Your mom has great taste in men!

    Reply
  10. Vasca - May 21, 2020 8:38 pm

    Sean, I love this. My fourth great grandchild was born during this pandemic. A midwife delivered him and he’s beautiful (of course) and healthy (thank God). But they didn’t name him after James Bond. Talking about James Bond my husband and I moved to China when we were 72 to secretly teach the bible but we had to have a job to stay there so we taught English in a Chinese University and I’m not a teacher. You were required to have a Master’s Degree but I hadn’t even gone to college. The american director said that was okay, they’d absolutely love me so I taught. One day, a tall…dark…very handsome new student appeared in one of my classes. I asked his name; he replied “Bond, but you can call me James”. I had a huge guy in class whose name was “Conan” so you can see I was very well protected. True story!

    Reply
  11. Berryman Mary M - May 21, 2020 9:22 pm

    My late husband, who was a doctor always said babies born under those type of circumstances are always healthy!

    Reply
  12. Sandi. - May 22, 2020 6:57 am

    Christina, Sean himself does a lot of the sketches accompanying his stories. Usually he signs them “Sean D.”. That’s how we know for certain who the artist is. Now you know everything. LOL

    Reply

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