On May the 8th, 2018 at 8:42PM, Brooke Eckman Hofferth pirouetted into the world. Or maybe it was break dancing. Either way, her Dad found himself swiftly in awe.
Earlier that morning, her mother had begun to feel the first pangs of labor. She’d been awoken by them at a brisk 6AM. Initially, Mom thought it to be simple cramping, so off to work she went. For the record, Dad wanted to call the doctor then, but Mom assured him that it was “no big deal” and thus the day began.
It was around noon when Mom texted Dad, indicating that the cramps had not gone away. She had been in touch with the Doula, and they agreed to keep monitoring, but that Brooke’s arrival was still a ways off. Dad agreed, and the day marched on.
Around 4PM, Mom was beginning to realize that she was, in fact, in labor. The cramps had become full blown contractions, regularly taking her breath away. Valiantly she soldiered on, slaying strays and grays alike. She sent another text to Dad, but cautioned him that she did not want it to be blown out of proportion, and that she would see him soon after they were both off of work.
Dad arrived home at 6PM, anxiously awaiting Mom’s return. Mom called while driving herself home, telling him that she was in a good amount of pain, and that maybe they would need to call the doctor after all. Dad told Mom to breathe and focus on getting home.
Once Mom arrived, Dad helped her into the house and then began to do what any good engineer would: collected data. Handy contraction timing app pulled up, Dad mashed away at the start and stop button in time with Mom’s ever-worsening contractions. Dad was thoroughly surprised and not the least bit alarmed when the initial results seemed to indicate a two-and-a-half minute cadence. That was much faster than expected.
Dad attempted, mostly in vain, to make Mom comfortable. He repeated the mantra of “just breathe” and “you’re doing great” as a man who could only say those few words would. Meanwhile, he focus on gathering items in preparation for a pending departure. Dad also made a phone call to Grandma V, letting her know that her presence had been requested for the ride to the hospital.
It was 45 minutes into the data gathering when Mom’s water broke. It was as if God had lobbed an invisible water balloon, perfect of aim, that curved in to burst against Mom’s thigh, startling and obvious. At this point, Dad realized that the data-gathering had ended, and a more all-hands-on-deck approach was needed to get this ship sailing.
Aunt Leslie called around this time, surely not expecting to be dragged so abruptly into this unfolding tale. Dad implored Auntie to hurry to the house and help him prepare Mom for the journey. The scene had become a bit chaotic, and an extra set of hands was sorely needed. Dad also call the hospital to let them know that he would be coming in hot.
Auntie arrived and, to her credit, calmly surveyed the yelling and moaning of Mom, the panicked meandering of Dad, to get right to work on the task at hand. Together, Dad and Auntie prepped Mommy in record time (for her especially), guiding her to Dad’s car and getting them on the road. As luck would have it, Grandma V’s Uber arrived (that’s a tale for another time) and she hopped into the back seat of Dad’s car so that she could hold Mom’s hand during the quick trip across town.
And quick it was. Daddy channeled all of the Indy 500-esque skills that he had soaked up over the last decade in Indianapolis, and raced to the hospital. It was somewhere in the middle of I-69 when Mom informed Dad that Brooke was, in fact, coming NOW. Dad dodged a few cars, zipped by a line of trucks, and barreled into the home stretch. By the time he pulled up to the hospital, Mom wasn’t sure she could make it inside. Dad swiftly snatched a wheelchair, encouraged Mom to hover her way on to it, tossed the keys to Grandma V, and dashed into Community Hospital North.
Mom and Dad had taken classes at the hospital, so Dad knew the way. A quick button press opened the doors to the thankfully waiting elevator, and they shot up to the fourth floor. Dad pushed the buzzer to enter the maternity ward, and was whisked into a triage room. Two nurses and Dad were in the room when Mom let them all know that time had just about run out.
The first nurse maneuvered Mom onto the far edge of the bed, while the second nurse radioed for help. Mom barely had a chance to climb aboard when Brooke poked her head out, excited to meet everyone. Unfortunately, there was a little bit of clothing still in the way, so Mom and the nurse quickly remedied the situation, and Brooke spilled the rest of the way out into the nurse’s waiting arms. The nurse guided her gently down to the bed where, much to Dad’s relief, she let out a wail. The second nurse, who’d only had time to don one rubber glove, announced: Baby born at 8:42PM.
After that, the room flooded with a doctor and several more nurses. They hurriedly attended to Mom and Baby, making sure everyone got calmed down from all of the excitement. Dad went to check Mom in, and Grandma V wandered up from the parking garage. The rest of the night was spent in relative peace as Brooke settled into this big new world and Mom’s warm waiting arms. Dad and Mom fell immediately in love with little Brooke, and after only a couple nights in the hospital being cared for by the excellent staff, they journeyed back home.
Author’s Note: A couple “facts” I wanted to record from May 8th, 2018:
- A record 23 births were performed at Community North, beating the old record of 22. Brooke was the tying run here, at #22.
- Community North is the top birthing hospital in the state, so I believe that record holds for Indiana as well.
- Brooke was only the second baby ever to be born in triage at Community North. You know, not in the actual birthing suites.
(Facts based on rumors corroborated by various nurses. May or may not be acknowledged by the World Record folks.)