First Born

Alberta and I had been married eleven months. I was in the barn milking and Alberta had finished feeding the calves, a job she had enjoyed doing since starting her farm life. She was moving somewhat slower in recent days. She was pregnant and already a week past her due-date. Normally she would have been in the house preparing supper at this time of day, but we had no communication between house and barn. And we thought it wise to stay close.

She sat down on the bale of hay I had dragged out and we talked as I milked.

All at once she said, " I think it's time." Labor pains were starting. They were not too close together yet, so I more hurriedly kept on milking trying to finish.

The pains now came closer together now and suddenly her water broke. I told her to "hold everything 'til I finished milking". That was a bright thing to say!

The pains were five minutes apart now. I milked faster, rushed the last pail of milk to the milk-house, dumped it through the strainer into the milk-can and set the can in the vat of water to cool. I rushed back to the barn, quickly forked hay to the cows. Then, we were off in the car to the hospital in Oneida twelve miles away.

We made it ok. Dr. Earl was called to handle the delivery. I wanted to come with her into the delivery room, but in those days hospital rules kept the father out. Dr. Earl said it was a foolish rule, but that's the way it was then. Of course I was concerned, but I did not panic the way waiting fathers are usually portrayed. I had seen and helped too many animals giving birth for that. Of course, this was a mite different.

Fay was born about eight o'clock the next morning.

We have always joked about the time she sat on a thistle in a hay bale and punctured the water bag.

Charles E. Page 2003