Oh how I wish I’d found this on Sunday! My sister and I have always known the story of our birth, Mom used it as a way to highlight our need for drama since birth. And as I tell you the story, you’ll understand that we come by our dramatics honestly. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
It was about 2 AM on a Saturday morning in 1973 when my dad went racing down the streets of Washington, D.C. in his little Datsun. With dual horns blaring and my mother tensing up in labor, my dad violated all sorts of traffic laws. Really, what do stop lights mean when your wife is about to give birth to your twins? Motorists were moving over to the side, hand gestures of all sorts were flying and police sirens were blaring.
At some point one of the police cruisers whipped in front of my dad’s car with the intention of forcing my dad to stop. Unfortunately, my dad had only two options ~ slam on breaks and hit the police car or slam on breaks and hit a metal telephone pole. He chose to hit the police car. As my parents braced for impact, my mother’s labor pains intensified and my sister started crowning.
In the ensuing melee, Dad was put in the back of the ambulance and Mom ended up in the back seat of a police car where Shontel was delivered by a stranger. We never learned the man’s name because he wasn’t supposed to be in D.C. He had told his wife that he was going to be elsewhere for business, instead he was with his girlfriend. However, he did come to the hospital to check on us. So whoever you are, if you happen to stumble across this blog and you remember that day, I just want to say “thank you.” About 45 minutes later, my mom was at the hospital and she started telling the E.R. doctors that another one was coming but they thought she was in shock and ignored her. Lo and behold, between the emergency doors, I came into the world.
As you can tell by the newspaper article, my dad was charged with multiple traffic violations, all of which were dropped. But our story doesn’t end there….
My sister was released from the hospital after a few days but I was kept in the NICU because of respiratory problems. Yeah, my dad wasn’t having that. He felt like my sister and I had been conceived together, incubated together and, therefore, we should go home together. He started yelling at the doctors and threatening to take the hospital hostage if they didn’t release me. After a few hours, Mom and Grandma Vaughn were able to talk him down and he let me stay in the NICU and he took Shontel home. But you better believe, my dad was at that hospital bright and early on my release date.