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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Born in the U.S.A.

posted by on January 31 at 12:32 PM

When I suddenly find free time on my hands, I write “a letter from America” for a Zimbabwean newspaper called The Mirror. The purpose of the letter is to give those stuck in Zimbabwe an idea (or a taste) of the country that is now my home. My next letter will use this story to give Zimbabweans an idea of what’s like to be in the richest, the most spoiled, the most spectacular nation on the planet:

On Monday, Liz Kirkman and her husband, Brian, were driving from their Snohomish home to Swedish Medical Center in downtown Seattle when the contractions hit the hardest. Unfortunately, they were stuck in morning rush-hour traffic.

“Once I was in the moving car, I was like ‘Uh-oh,’ ” Liz Kirkman said Tuesday. “I started doing the math in my head and thought ‘I am cutting this real close,’ then I got this urge to push.”

Kirkman, a 28-year-old stay-at-home mother, said that by the time they reached Northgate, she couldn’t keep from pushing through the contractions.

Sitting in the front passenger seat of their van, she propped her leg up on the dashboard and delivered Juliet as her husband drove in the I-5 carpool lane.

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I'm trying to figure out what is supposed to be the takeaway for the Zimbabwean readers. The US is so chaotic we regularly give birth in moving cars? The US is so strange we drive to hospitals to give birth? Traffic is bad? Americans have bad timing? Americans are so strong they can just drop babies any old place? What remarkeable spoiled or spectacular American thing does this illustrate?

Posted by pox | January 31, 2007 1:38 PM

Reason #5678 i don't want to be reincarnated as a passenger side floor mat.

Posted by longball | January 31, 2007 1:43 PM

Giving birth in a hospital is being spoiled. That people will drive from the suburbs to a city hospital, because they want to give birth there specifically, and don't even consider giving birth at a closer hospital, much less at home, even when there isn't time to reach the city (because everyone can afford to have a car and take up space on the road at the same time each morning and afternoon), will probably seem fairly ridiculous to Zimbabweans.

I think that's what he's getting at, at least.

Posted by Noink | January 31, 2007 2:13 PM

Exactly. And that the mother-to-be ended up giving birth outside the confines of a hospital anyway, with no ill effect.

Posted by laterite | January 31, 2007 3:48 PM

Yes, we Americans surely are spoiled! And our view of birth is anything but "natural." But this mother has had 3 children born with serious breathing problems and wisdom dictated that the baby be delivered in a hospital where there was excellent neo-natal care. They are greatful to God that whether America or Zimbabwe, whether in a hospital, home or car, our mighty and wonderful God, creator of life watches over us all and has ordained ever the circumstances of our birth. Rejoice with us!

Posted by Grandma C | February 1, 2007 10:48 AM

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