Will was born three weeks after my dad died. Maggie and I had spent the early part of the summer at Mom and Dad's house and returned to Maryland in July. By the end of that month, Dad decided to stop his treatments.
We were insured by Kaiser Permanente and the protocol when you were expecting was to alternate seeing a nurse one appointment, an OB/GYN the next. I was seven months pregnant before I ever saw a doctor.
Things at home were going downhill quickly and Mom said we should think about coming home to see Dad one more time, but a woman as pregnant as I was couldn't get on a plane without a note from their doctor. I was going every other week for checkups and every time I asked the answer was "no." No you can't go, no it's too stressful, no we won't write you a note. No. No. No.
On an appointment when I saw an actual doctor and explained the situation again, he said of course you have to go and I'll write the note right now. He handed it to me and on his way out the door said, "But don't deliver that baby in Illinois because Kaiser won't pay for it."
Mark, Maggie and I flew home with the intent of staying over Labor Day weekend. Mom was under enormous stress trying to take care of Dad and since Mark had plenty of vacation time we ended up staying nearly two weeks to help out.
After Dad died and the funeral plans had been set, we booked our flight back to Maryland with US Air. We went to the church, the cemetery and the luncheon afterwards then packed our stuff and headed to the airport so this baby would be born where we were insured.
I gave my note to the flight attendant and we boarded a very empty plane. After the flight had taken off and I was using the bathroom, Mark told her of the circumstances of the past few weeks. When I came back to my seat she said to me, "Honey, why don't you rest and I'll let you know when we're about to land." Then she led me to an empty row of seats that she'd put pillows and blankets on so I could nap.
I was cried out by then but I remember how compassionate she was to a fragile pregnant woman who was on a flight into the unknown, and that the crappy doctor's office I'd been dealing with all year could learn something from her.