Carol. How was the youth activity?" Mrs. Linburgh asked as Carol
climbed into the massive pickup later that night.
Carol beamed through her tears at
her mother and cheerfully replied, "Great!" She was thankful for
the darkness that engulfed them, hiding her tears from her mother.
Carol didn't want to reveal her life-changing news until later
at home when her dad would be able to hear, too.
"Bye, Melody!" Carol called out
the window as they pulled out of the parking lot. "Thanks for
"Bye," Melody called back, "see
Carol chuckled and leaned back into
the leather seat. After getting to know Melody a little better,
she had discovered that the blonde wasn't as shy as she seemed.
Glancing at her mom as they passed
under a streetlight, Carol noticed her mother's worried expression
as the light cast a glow over her face. She was about to ask about
it, but decided that her mom was probably just worried about what
Carol had thought of church. Yeah, that's probably it,
she thought, what else could it be?
Carol turned away from her mom and
focused on the road--a road she did not recognize. They were not
headed toward home.
"Uh, mom, where are we going?"
Mrs. Linburgh didn't even glance
her way as she replied, "Laurie Fowler is in labor, but something
else is wrong as well. We're going to the hospital to be there
for her and Joanne."
Carol couldn't even express her
concern, for the only words she was able to form were, "Oh, no!"
She could only imagine what Joanne was going through at that moment.
Joanne trembled as she entered her mother's hospital room and
saw the pain etched across her mom's thin face. The doctor who
had led Joanne to the room crossed it in three long strides and
knelt beside Laurie. He spoke softly.
"Mrs. Fowler, you are in labor,
but your baby is turned. We are going to try to turn your baby,
but you cannot push until we say you can. Understand?"
Joanne watched as her mother nodded
and whispered something that she interpreted as, "I'll do my best."
"That's all we ask," the doctor
replied; then, "Your daughter is here to see you," he added. Turning
to Joanne, he warned, "You have time for just a short visit."
Joanne nodded to him and walked
as quickly to her mother's bedside as her wobbly legs would allow.
"Hey, Mom," she whispered, kneeling
down beside her mother as she'd seen the doctor do.
Laurie smiled weakly. "We're going
to be okay."
Joanne bit her lip and replied,
"Mom, if you and baby do make it through this, I promise I'll
give church a try."
Laurie smiled again with a soft,
Suddenly, her sweet face twisted
into a look of pain and determination before she let out a cry.
A nurse hurried in from behind Joanne and helped her up.
"I'm afraid you'll have to go to
the waiting room now. Can you find your way there?" She assessed
Joanne with a worried look.
Joanne nodded. "I'll be fine. Just
take care of them." She motioned to her mother whose swollen stomach
formed a large lump under the hospital sheets.
With one more sympathetic glance,
the nurse turned to her work.
Joanne stifled a sniffle and turned
toward the door. If there really was a God, she prayed He would
keep her mom and tiny unborn sibling safe.