40 Weeks: A Flat Tire Story For Labor Day

September 3, 2012

A guest post from my mom!

Flat Tire Rock


In my ninth month, like most moms-to-be, I was a whirlwind organizer. After the nursery drawers were lined with Beatrix Potter paper, the crib set up, and the rest of the house put into tip top shape (no house of mine has ever been that neat again), I turned to craft projects. In the middle of making a navy blue calico picture frame, three days before my due date, I began to feel regular contractions. Yes!

After dinner, Cliff got to his task, which he had put off for weeks: repainting the wicker bassinet the last two generations in my mom’s family slept in. “In engineering,” he said as he dabbed on the white paint, “nothing happens ahead of schedule.”

“Well this baby’s ahead of time. At least I think this is real labor.”

We got in bed that night. Cliff fell promptly asleep. Whoa! A contraction hit that sent me flying out of bed. I went downstairs and fiddled around, waking Cliff two hours later.

When my contractions were three minutes apart, we called the doctor and then set out for the hospital.  We lived in Sudbury, Massachusetts, and to get to Newton-Wellesley Hospital we took Route 20, the old Boston Post Road.

The road was dark at three a.m. Cliff didn’t see a large rock right in our path. The car jolted as we drove over it.  So the next driver wouldn’t suffer our cruel fate, Cliff got out and moved the rock back to the stone wall on the side of the road.

When he returned and we started up again, he said, "Don’t worry; we’re still rolling."

We weren’t for long. The tire went flat.

No cell phones back then!

Cliff stepped into the road, flagging down a driver traveling in the opposite direction. She rolled down her window just an inch, and he explained the situation. We had seen a police car a few miles back. The woman agreed to look for the policeman.

A few minutes later, the policeman appeared. (I’ve learned that one way to get sweet attention from the police is to be in labor). The officer called an ambulance, and that’s how I arrived at the hospital.

Cliff went back the next day and located the rock. We now have it in our garden and are thinking of bringing it to Charlottesville soon, in honor of the start of the next generation.

Kath was born at 9:35am later that morning!

-Barbara, who 30 years later is writing about menopause!

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{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kris September 3, 2012 at 8:29 am

My father, who was notoriously frugal, and thus hated filling up the gas tank, managed to run out of gas on the way to the hospital when my mom was in labor with me. So she ended up being given a ride by a police paddy wagon, which smelled like urine and vomit (sorry TMI). I was born about an hour later.


2 Mom September 4, 2012 at 1:41 pm

That’s a great story, except for the smells for your poor mom.


3 Susan September 3, 2012 at 8:42 am

Wonderful story! I remember that sense of urgency to reach the hospital “in time” because we’ve all heard of babies being born in the back seat of a car. Now that it’s in the past and had a very happy outcome, it’s nice to hand down stories like this to your children and their children.


4 kim@hungryhealthygirl September 3, 2012 at 8:48 am

What a cool story! And so neat to have your mom guest post. Hang in there…it won’t be long now.


5 Stef September 3, 2012 at 9:11 am

Aw, what a great story!


6 Molly @ RDexposed September 3, 2012 at 9:14 am

How big is that thing?


7 Kel September 3, 2012 at 9:26 am

I love that they went back for the rock!!


8 Sara C September 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

I’ve been reading your kerf blog for a few months now but haven’t commented…but now I have to because I LIVE in Sudbury! How random is that. I travel that road every day. I wonder where the spot was that the rock was hit. Small world!


9 KERF September 3, 2012 at 9:47 am


Mom, where was our house??


10 Mom September 3, 2012 at 10:57 am

Our house was on Brookdale Lane in Sudbury. I’m pretty sure we broke down in Weston, and the cop was in Wayland. Is that how it goes: Sudbury,Wayland, Weston? The young Wayland cop was nervous because he had to cross town lines to get to me and apparently that was a big deal. He called a Weston ambulance. He asked me to ham it up when we walked to the ambulance, he was so afraid of getting in trouble for being out of his jurisdiction. So I took his arm and let him help me over. The Weston ambulance guys were lovely though and one of their wives,a pink smock lady, stopped in my room the next day to give me their good wishes. I wish I could go back now and thank everybody!


11 Jamie September 3, 2012 at 2:29 pm

My jaw dropped reading this story because I too have been reading your blog for awhile now and I grew up in Sudbury (born in ’78). I was born at Emerson. Yes, its Sudbury, Wayland, Weston, what a crazy coincidence. I grew up closer to the high school. I now live a few towns over and I’m expecting my first baby in a month, delivering at Newton-Wellesley!! Crazy coincidences! How cool. Great story about your birth, Kath.


12 Mom September 3, 2012 at 5:34 pm

That’s where Kath was born! They had just updated the whole maternity wing, and I imagine they’ve updated it at least once more since then. Good luck to you. I bet your baby will be as cute as Kath was that day in October.


13 Sara C September 3, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Brookdale is literally two streets over from mine! I live on the corner of Eddy and Landham. Do you remember which number? I will have to wave to Kath’s first house next time I take a run or bike ride past it…it’s on my route!


14 Sara C September 3, 2012 at 6:55 pm

p.s. I’d be happy to send you a photo of the house as it looks today if you can remember the number!


15 KERF September 3, 2012 at 7:05 pm

It was a blue colonial… might be white now? So cool!


16 Mom September 3, 2012 at 7:10 pm

6 Brookdale Lane. The first house on the left as you enter the cul de sac. Kath’s room was the top left. Fifteen years or so, when we went back, I think it had been painted white/cream. We’d love to see a photo!

So fun you live so close.


17 Sara C September 3, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Oh we JUST biked by there yesterday — I love that little lane! That house is lovely…a nice big yard. I will definitely take a photo soon. How long were you there? Did Kath go to school here?


18 Mom September 3, 2012 at 9:00 pm

We were in the house about four years. We moved when Kath was just a year old. We loved New England, but we were cold. Since we both went to school at Duke in NC, we wanted to return to this area.

So sweet you know our house! Such wonderful memories of Kath’s first year there.


19 Allison September 3, 2012 at 9:43 am

What a neat story! And how cool that you have the rock! I didn’t know you’re a yankee . . . my hubby was born in NY and moved South as a baby but my Southern born grandmother always gives him a hard time . . . “It doesn’t matter if you were whisked out of the hospital and immediately taken south of the Mason-Dixon line son, you were born up north so you’ll always be a yankee.” Hope you’re feeling good! Maybe today is the day.


20 KERF September 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

Haha. I definitely relate much more with the South, but with two yankee parents and a Boston birth, it’s fun to think I’m a ‘halfblood’ : )


21 Allison September 3, 2012 at 11:03 am

Yes, best of both worlds!


22 Angel7 September 3, 2012 at 10:10 am

The rock looks like it is kind of in the shape of a heart :) It is the Rock of Ages!

How nice of your dad to move the rock & save a life or lives! Now you can pass the story & rock down from generation to generation.



23 Mom September 3, 2012 at 10:58 am

We’ve always wondered who could be so hateful to put a rock in the middle of the road like that.


24 KERF September 3, 2012 at 11:11 am

The earth probably did it!


25 Dad September 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

What do you mean “the earth …”? The wall where the rock was from was maybe 2-3 foot high and maybe 15-20 feet from the road. There is no other explanation for the rock appearing in the travel lane — several feet from the curb — then for someone placing it there. The rock weighs 8-12 pounds if I remember correctly.


26 Angel7 September 4, 2012 at 5:07 pm

If someone did put the rock there, that is cruel!


27 Angel7 September 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm
28 Lauren @ Healthy Food For Living September 3, 2012 at 11:12 am

Loved this story! I live in MA, and will be delivering at Newton-Wellesley Hospital in December (our baby girl’s due date is 12/25!). I wonder how much things have changed in terms of delivering babies at NWH over the past 30 years?!


29 Mom September 3, 2012 at 5:36 pm

Another Newton Wellesley baby! Another darling one, too, I bet!


30 Simply Life September 3, 2012 at 11:25 am

wow! what a story! I can’t imagine that happening without cellphones! I love that they kept the rock!


31 Averie @ Averie Cooks September 3, 2012 at 12:02 pm

What a story! I can only imagine getting a flat in the middle of no where on the way to the hospital. Eeek! Glad it all worked out :)


32 Beth September 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm

What a great story & an eventful labor!


33 Pam September 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

What a great story :)! Glad everything worked out even without a cell phone. I often wonder how we get along without them these days.
Can’t wait for Kath to have her little boy and then read her birth story!


34 Spice Chicken September 3, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Barbara, thanks for sharing this great story. I love that you went back for the rock and kept it. Shout out to my fellow New Englanders.


35 Regina September 3, 2012 at 4:05 pm

My 2 week post-partum hormonal self is tearing up! What an amazing story. I love that they got the rock and kept it!


36 Jean September 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

aawwww….. brings me to tears! what a sweet post by Barbara.. good luck Kath!


37 robin September 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

Great story.


38 Jennifer September 4, 2012 at 8:35 am

What a wonderful story! I love how you went back and got that rock and have it now.


39 Mom September 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Thanks everybody for your kind words. If you had told me I’d have a flat tire on the way to the hospital, I wouldn’t have believed it. Added to the excitement, that’s for sure.


40 Monica September 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm

This is an awesome story! I love birth stories!


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