The nineteen year-old had been wondering these last eighteen hours why she'd agreed to natural childbirth.
“Push Nadine, you’re almost there.”
She’d thought it would be cool to talk about later with her friends. Maxwell wanted children and she was so in love that she had agreed.
With her last bit of strength, she gave one final push.
“Well, hello, Joseph,” said Dr. Ramsay, the baby in his hands. “Welcome to the world. Nurse Anderson, will you please prepare this fine young man to see his mother?”
“I’d be honored.”
Dr. Ramsey turned to Nadine and Maxwell. “You have a fine healthy baby boy with all his fingers and toes.” Patting Nadine on the arm, he left.
Nurse Connors, the head pediatric nurse, had been watching for him.
“Doctor, the beds are almost filled.”
“See if the other hospitals have room for transport patients and make double sure that the infant’s bracelets match those of their mothers before either leaves the birthing room. What’s my schedule look like?”
“Mrs. Robinson is in prep; Mrs. Moody is on her way in and several others have called.”
“And the other doctors?”
“Just as busy.”
During a special convention he and a group of other hand-picked pediatricians had been told that the government wanted to monitor the babies. Spurred by notions of public service, Ramsay had agreed but in the back of his mind, he knew there was another reason. Now, as he walked down the corridor, he wondered if he might have sold his soul. Early release would make sense, he thought, as he turned on the TV in his quarters. Glancing in the mirror, he began thinking of another time when he was getting ready to go to a conference….
“Please don’t go,” Beverly was begging. Paul Ramsey pulled his wife close to him, wishing the baby was in the crib already. “We’ve been over this. It’s the pregnancy that’s making you worry. It’s a three day conference. I’ll call you every day as many times as you want me to.” She looked into his warm brown eyes. “Paul, I have a bad feeling.” “Do you remember when we became engaged? Paul asked. “I promised you that I will take care of you; remember? Remember? Remember?” The memory echoed in his mind daily still. Now this lightly grayed and deeply-immersed-in-his-work widower was lonely and lately his thoughts were of a petite bundle of energy, Betty Anderson. She always had a ready smile and a calming reassuring effect on patients. He had been trying not to notice that she had her nurse’s cap set on him….
“Births are in the hundreds. Pediatric wings of all local hospitals are filled to capacity with infant boys. Hospital administrators are holding emergency meetings….”
The phone interrupted the news cast. “Dr. Ramsey. Yes, Nurse Connors.”
“Mrs. Robinson is in the delivery room, labor pains are five minutes apart; Mrs. Moody is still in preparation; these births will be close so I called another intern. He should be arriving any minute.”
“I’ll be right there. Oh, get release forms ready for signatures and inform the other doctors that we will release babies born yesterday.”
Nurse Connors hung the phone up, grabbed a handful of release forms and placed Dr. Ramsey’s instructions in the other doctor’s in boxes.
At the Hospital Administrators emergency meeting, Richard Wilson sat rubbing his temples and listening to the exchange of ideas. ”Doesn’t General Hospital have a vacant floor?” Carl asked
“Those beds are almost completely filled.”
“Mrs. Clark, please send a memo regarding early release.”
Making a final notation, she left the room.
At Mercy Hospital Dr. Ramsey was saying to Mrs. Robinson, “Nurse Anderson will have this fine boy cleaned up and in your arms immediately.”
“Thank you, d”….
The security alarm interrupted and panicked Mrs. Robinson. Mr. Robinson was instantly beside her.
Dr. Ramsey and Nurse Anderson’s eyes met for an instant. “Don’t worry, it’s a scheduled fire drill,” Dr. Ramsey said. “Procedure is to close all doors until we get the all clear. Then, we will move your bed into the hall by the nurse’s station where you will wait for the next available room.”
Nurse Anderson brought the baby over to Mr. Robinson. “Would you like to hold him?”
“Look at you,” he said taking his son into his arms, “your mommy has been waiting a long time to get a look at her handsome boy.”
He placed his son in his wife’s arms and watched as his tiny fists closed tightly on either side of his head. With a big yawn and an involuntary grin, he closed his eyes.
“Oh, he’s beautiful.” Mrs. Robinson said.
As Dr. Ramsey opened the door, his nurse came rushing by. Catching her arm, he asked, “What’s going on, Nurse Cooper?”
“We are locked down because of an attempted baby theft. The thieves are in the staff lounge and police and security are everywhere. We will have it under control soon.”
“While you were busy with Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Moody gave birth. Now, three patients are in preparation and I’ve taken the liberty of having the delivery room partitioned off. We received a memo from Administration backing up your decision to release early.”
“Put early release on hold for now.” “Sure.” Nurse Connors replied. “We’ll continue the current procedures. I think I can find some privacy screens and I’ll do something to help you find your patients at a glance.
“Thank you Nurse Connors. Oh, and inform administration of our latest developments.”
At the Hospital Administrators emergency meeting, Mrs. Clark placed the phone back into the receiver.
“Mr. Wilson, Mercy Hospital is in lockdown because of an attempted baby theft.”
Richard sat up straight and stopped rubbing his temples.
“Please see if the other hospitals are having problems.”
As Mrs. Clark closed the door behind her, Richard picked up the phone….
Carl Stevens, 30ish and new to the job, took the opportunity to turn on the t. v.
“Mercy Hospital has been locked down due to an attempted kidnapping. Those giving birth today are being notified to arrive early. Emergency room patients and those being released will be processed out with heavy security close by.”
“How on earth do they get their information so quickly?” He said.
Dr. Ramsey was approaching the labor room when he decided to speak to the
“I’m concerned about the police and security guards dr., “Mrs. Robinson said, “the
nurses are so busy rushing around that I can’t get answers and I’m having a problem
relaxing. Can you tell me what is going on and do you have any idea when a room will
Mr. Robinson, having heard the news and not wanting to stress his wife, stood
silently waiting to hear the doctor’s explanation.
“Mrs. Robinson, we have the best security of any place in the city. I’m sure the
problems will be resolved soon. Until your room becomes available I’ll order a mild
sedative for you. If things continue to go well with your son, we may release you early.”
Dr. Ramsey glanced at his watch and walked to the nursing station, located Mrs.
Robinson’s chart and wrote the order before going to the birthing room.
At the Department of Homeland Security meeting in Washington D. C., James Furr entered the room and faced his team.
“Ladies and gentlemen, due to near abductions of infants from various hospitals
throughout the city, we have increased security. At 0800 tomorrow we launch project
‘Best Place’. Have your reports ready and be prepared to hit the ground running.”
With that, he turned and left the room.
The mothers were sleeping when the three army soldiers entered the maternity
wing and stood at ease near the entrances; Nurse Connors began quietly gathering the
fathers around the nurse’s station.
“Mr. Richard Wilson of the Administrator’s office has asked me to notify you of a
meeting being held in the cafeteria. These soldiers will watch over your wives and sons.
Just through this entrance,” she pointed to the door across from the nursing station, “you
will find soldiers who will escort you.”
The doors to the staff lounge opened and two men with their hands cuffed behind
them were ushered out through the nearest exit to the lounge.
In the cafeteria, the fathers were quietly shaking hands and introducing
themselves when hospital Administrators, doctors, nurses, and the General filed in. The
doctors and nurses seated themselves at a table near the fathers while the soldier escorts
stationed themselves outside the meeting room, and next to doors throughout the halls.
“Good evening, gentlemen. I’m Richard Wilson, the Hospital Administrator. To
my left is Carl Stevens, my assistant and to my right, General James Davis of the United
States Army. Thank you for attending at such short notice. Please take advantage of the
fresh coffee provided.” Richard waited until the fathers were again seated then said,
“General James Davis is a representative of the Department of Homeland Security and is
here to reveal a plan that will ensure the safety of your families. There will be a question
and answer session following. At this time, I will turn the meeting over.”
General Davis stood.
“Gentlemen, as you know, something unusual is happening with births these last
couple of days and attempted kidnappings not just here, but in several other hospitals
throughout the city. We have located an abandoned city that can be easily secured and
protected and have established a plan very similar to the Witness Protection Program.
Tomorrow at 0800 we launch a top secret operation to take everyone involved to
that location. I know you have objections and concerns. Just remember that we are here
to ensure the safety of your families. We must have your agreement to cooperate before
you leave this room tonight.”
The dead silence gave way to inaudible conversation and complaints as the crowd of new fathers began to realize what was happening to their lives.
Maxwell Grimes stood.
“General Davis, I’m Maxwell Grimes, my wife and I both have jobs. I don’t see
us picking up and leaving in the morning without notice.”
“I understand your concern; Mr. Grimes, “we will notify your employer of these
developments and we are sure your positions will be held open for you until your return.”
Mr. Robinson stood.
“General Davis, I’m David Robinson. It’s the same with us. I assure you my wife is
not going to leave her parents and family and go off into hiding .”
“Mr. Robinson, if we find it necessary, we will move any family members you
request to your new location.”
“That sounds awful final, General Davis.” Mr. Moody said. “How much time are
we talking about?”
Mindful of the need to be tactful, in order to get their cooperation, General Davis
replied, “Gentlemen, we need time to sort it out. That is why we are offering government
protection and we promise to have you back in your homes as soon as we can. Your
wives and sons are the most important things to consider here. We will step outside for a
few minutes to give you time to talk among yourselves.”
General Davis, Carl Stevens and Richard Wilson stepped outside and closed the
door behind them. As the fathers discussed the situation, Richard absent mindedly
rubbed his temples while Carl and General Davis Stood quietly waiting. “What decision
do you think they will make General?” Carl Asked. “There is only one, Mr. Stevens.”
The General replied as the door was opened by Maxwell Grimes. “Our decision is made,
General. For now, we will go along with your plan.” “Very well,” General Davis
replied, “before you leave, please go by the table to the left of the room and make sure we
have the information we need in order to secure your jobs and ship your belongings and
other family members to you within the next few days.”
The next day at 0800 airport monitors scrolling arrival and departure times
suddenly changed to read “all flights delayed”. Passengers stood staring in disbelief at
the blinking message, then began lining up at the counters looking for explanations.
“I’m maid of honor at my sister’s wedding.” One customer complained. “I’ll miss
the wedding rehearsal and I’m supposed to give a toast.”
“My 8-year-old is waiting in Phoenix by herself. I have to be there on time.”
Another yelled from somewhere in the crowd.
“I just drank enough courage to get on that plane, now you tell me it’s delayed!”
The man unsteadily wobbled back to the bar for more courage, arriving just in time to see
a news flash on the T.V. over the bar. The view was of a news team, standing in front of congested traffic with the airport in the distance, “This just in, we are as close as we can get to the airport. Regular traffic is stopped. Behind me, you can see army vehicles, ambulances and limousines being directed through. We are trying to find out what has happened at the airport and we will break regular programming as soon as we know.” Tracy Stevens, WCBI News.
At the airport, soldiers were quietly stationing themselves at entrances, exits and
passenger and luggage check areas.
“Is it a bomb?” Someone cried out.
“I don’t see any dogs sniffing around,” another replied.
“We’d have to leave the building if it were a bomb scare.” someone yelled.
Passengers seated in the waiting area watching planes arrive and depart overheard these remarks and turned around to look, but the sound of military utility helicopters landing on the tarmac brought their attentions back to the window. Everyone crowded around to watch as engines were turned off and crew members exited from the cargo doors and stood at attention beside the massive machines.
“What’s going on?” a voice broke the silence.
The sound of the sirens was faint at first but grew louder as the ambulances and
limousines approached the tarmac and stopped next to the copters. The doors opened and
patients, their families, doctors and nurses exited the vehicles and began loading into the
“It’s the babies,” someone broke the silence.
“Oh my, look! It is the babies,” another chimed in.
As nurse Anderson was helped aboard she took a moment to focus. She saw only
one seat remaining and that was next to Dr. Ramsey. A crew member took her bag and
placed it next to her as she sat. The silence was broken only by the occasional cries of
the newborns and the chatter of their older siblings. Everyone sat waiting for the rest of
the copters to finish loading and the limousines and ambulances to leave. Then one by
one the aft cargo doors of the Boeng CH-47 Chinook helicopters slammed shut.
“Paul, do you know how long this will last?” Nurse Anderson asked.
His hand rested on top of hers as the three man crews started the two Honeywell
turbo shaft engines and the three-blade rotor systems gained enough speed to lift them
into the air. Each copter, in turn, circled once then quickly flew out of sight.
“The rest of our lives,” he answered.
….In the airport, military personnel began leaving. Computer monitors began
displaying flight schedules and the waiting passengers were assured that they would not
miss their connections.
WCBI news broke into regularly scheduled programs. “We have just seen army
helicopters touch down and leave the airport. Soldiers are leaving the airport in the
military vehicles you see behind me and the ambulances and limousines ushered through
the congestion earlier are also leaving. We still don’t know if they picked someone up or
dropped someone off. We hope that someone at the airport will contact our news office
and let us know what just happened. Traffic is beginning to flow again.” Stay tuned, we
will keep you informed. Tracy Stevens, WCBI News.”