I started working at Safeway in January 1983. I met some really great friends while I was working as a courtesy clerk. I had a couple favorite checkers that I loved working with and we used to hang out on our days off. One of them was Jackie. She had actually worked in the Petaluma Safeway with my mom when she was a bagger. She transferred to Rohnert Park to become a checker.
We became good friends and would go to the beach or the river on days when we were both off. I remember this really cool thing I discovered the first time we went to the river with her and my other Safeway pal Terri. Jackie had extra baby toes! The baby ones on both sides were doubles like twins. Six toes on each foot. Never saw that before. She said she normally doesn’t wear open toe shoes but at the river, she had no
choice. It was cool. We still loved her.
Jackie is white and she was dating a black man.
I had never met Mike as they didn’t do a lot of things out in public. Her mom wasn’t happy about her choice in boyfriends but parents rarely are. One day at work Jackie told me she was pregnant and was worried about what was going to happen. She said her boyfriend wasn’t going to go to the childbirth classes because he didn’t like the looks he got when they did things as a couple. Before I knew it, I volunteered to go with her to the classes. I didn’t think much more about it over the next few months while she was growing, until the day she said classes were starting in 2 weeks.
I was going to go every Thursday night with Jackie to Lamaze class in Petaluma with her for a month! I didn’t even consider the implications of attending this class either. I had just signed up to go with my friend to have her baby. I was only 20 years old so I was a bit oblivious to
many things. I went to every class with Jackie.
I listened very carefully and we practiced the breathing exercises. We watched movies to help prepare us too. I felt ready for the call.
I let my boss know that I would call in when we were going to the hospital. Everyone at work knew I was going to be her coach/partner
for the birth. It was getting close. I remember that day that the call came, I had worked an 8 hour shift until 5pm. I got home and then went for a 3 mile run. I made dinner for myself and my boyfriend and we were watching TV. Jackie called about 10pm and said they were headed up to community hospital in Santa Rosa. This was it!
What a rush! I was headed to the hospital to help my friend have a baby. It seemed like it came up so fast. I was so excited that I forgot that it was bedtime! Jackie was checked in when I got there. I met Mike for the first time. A little awkward but more was about to come. It was slow going for a while. I was mostly just hanging out while she was having contractions. We walked around the halls a bit while things were beginning. I remember Mike leaving several times to nap in his car. I stayed awake the whole time and with Jackie too. I did drink a lot of coffee and ate a bunch of vending machine food.... mostly chocolate. One time when I was helping her through a contraction, Jackie said my breath was horrible! She could smell the chocolate and it really bothered her.
One of the times when Mike was away, the doctor came in and wanted to give her Pitocin to speed up her labor. Jackie just wanted to have that baby so she agreed. When Mike got back, he wasn’t happy. This happened again when he was gone. They wanted to put a fetal monitor in and Jackie agreed. Mike didn’t want to have any of that but yet he wasn’t around so we didn’t get his input. This created a bit of tension but I was focused on helping Jackie.
At the time, this labor seemed to go on and on forever. Now after having children of my own, Jackie’s labor was short. Finally at 5 pm, we went into the delivery room. This is where
I witnessed the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in my life. I stood by Jackie’s head and spoke softly to her. She was almost done. The doctor said” Push”. With 3 big pushes Angel, their daughter was born at 5:28pm. It’s hard to explain the magical feeling. The sense of relief and joy! I was there with my friend at one of the most important times of her life. I had forgotten the sleep I had missed because I was filled with so much love for life!
Angel was perfect! She had beautiful creamy brown skin and dark brown hair. She also had 2 extra pinky fingers on each hand without bones. The doctors tied string around them and they fell off the same time as her umbilical cord. What a gift to be present at her birth. I appreciate
the opportunity to help plus it deterred me from having kids for 10 more years!
One of my stories from my new book on friendship 💕❤️