410 Words on Hard Things Being Easy, Sometimes. (Happy Birthday, Samuel.) 

Every year on his birthday, I tell Samuel how he came shooting out like a rocket. I don’t know exactly how many minutes after we left home Samuel was born, but it was well under thirty. We left for the hospital around 9 pm and his birth certificate says he was born at 9:17. 

There are so many amazing and fun details about his chaotic birth. First of all, it’s a miracle he wasn’t born in the car. Elias did the stereotypical “woman in labor” drive to the hospital wherein he rolled through stop signs and red lights and screeched to a halt right in front of the emergency room. I ignored the very young orderly who was trying to make small talk while pushing me up to labor and delivery except to tell him that he should hurry it up. 

When I arrived at the desk they tried to do intake: 


“Traci Smith” 

“Date of Birth” 

“Pressure pressure pressure!” I shouted

Every single nurse within earshot knew what it meant. 

On the bed. Pants off. Charge nurse barking orders. She just climbed up on the bed with me and confirmed Samuel was crowning. Elias was still parking the car. 

As Samuel was being born I started to cry. “It’s too fast! It’s too fast!” 

“Are you kidding?” the nurse said “This is awesome! You’re about to meet your baby! You’re doing amazing! The head is almost out!” 

Elias came in right about then. He didn’t miss it, but almost. 

All he said was, “Wow!” 

A few more pushes and… flop! A baby boy. 

I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. 

People ask why we waited so long to go to the hospital. The truth is this: I had absolutely no idea how close we were cutting it. I was as shocked as everyone else. Just 54 weeks prior I had given birth to Samuel’s older brother, Clayton. That labor took days, it included Pitocin, and it was agonizing. So when I was laboring with Samuel, it didn’t occur to me that I was nearing the end. I assumed I’d have so much farther to go, just as before. 

As I think back on that birth, there are so many lessons, but one of them is this: you can prepare for something to be long and hard, and that’s fine. But sometimes it’s easy. You just never know. 


#WritersWrite and I write almost every day. I sometimes share my thoughts publicly in this series called “500 Words or Less” This practice allows me to explore a variety of different topics in a restrained/contained way and learn what resonates with people. I wrote it, not AI. If you share, please give proper credit. © Traci Smith, 2023. All Rights Reserved.

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