So, for some reason I thought right now would be a great time to start training to do a Tough Mudder (http://toughmudder.com/) with a past client, named Stacy, who is a trainer. If you aren’t aware of Tough Mudder, it’s an obstacle course/mud run that raises funds to support the Wounded Warrior Project (http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/). It’s just on that list of “things I would do if I weren’t on call to catch babies all the dang time.” And, well, I’m not on call. I could ACTUALLY leave my cell phone somewhere and not think about it for the first time in ten years. I could get on a boat and sail far away or jump on a train and visit long lost family.
Oh, except I’m on probation and am restricted from leaving Los Angeles and Orange County. Right.
What did I do to deserve such love?
Anyway… back to Tough Mudder. Stacy and her husband are both built of steel. I kid you not. They can lift small buildings with their pinkies. And they’ve taken it upon themselves to make sure I don’t die running in the mud. I’m flattered.
But on Day Four of my community service sentence for saving a baby’s life, I am finding that the soreness is really setting in. So much so that when I sit on the toilet before I head out for the shelter I literally have to pull myself up using the walls. Which is really lady-like. But so were 55 deep squats, thank you very much.
And I’m looking forward to rolling toilet paper because I can rest. Unfortunately, Jeremy has other plans for me. To my shock, I’m put on litter pickup duty instead.
Jeremy hands me a broom, a dust pan and a flash light. “Sweep the entire courtyard and then go around in all the planters and pick up any trash and cigarette butts. When you done here, you done. You can go sit in the clubhouse til mornin duties.”
I’d never seen so many cigarette butts in planters in all my life. And each one demanded another squat. By the time I finished, my eyes were watering and I was feeling dizzy from the pain.
The clubhouse had become heaven on skid row.
Robert had been replaced by a new community service worker. Everyone had less hours than I did, apparently. The new guy introduced himself as Chris, doing 40 hours for a DUI. And like Robert, he gawked at my hours and wanted to know what I did. I must have beat someone up, of course.
“I delivered a baby.” No sense saying that I caught the baby. Nobody outside of homebirth really cares if you say “delivered” or “caught.” Actually “caught” makes them think someone threw the baby to start with. I was no longer in the mood to explain midwifery to some non-breeder.
“Wait a minute. What’s your name?” He asked, looking at me through hipster glasses.
“Katie McCall.” I’m not going to lie, that made me a little uneasy.
“No shit? I think I read about you on Facebook. My friend wants to be a midwife and she posted a news story about your case.”
“Serious? What’s her name?”
I sat in silence for a moment, in awe of how the world can be such a small place. I had cared for Rebecca during her pregnancy with twins and I told Chris so. He likewise expressed his amazement. A couple hours later he became my 1,899th friend on Facebook. That’s how things work in the digital age. Wonder if we’ll swap Christmas cards.
My pain and exhaustion eventually gave way and I pulled my hoody jacket tight around me and tucked myself into a fetal position on the cold concrete floor because it was more comfortable than the 99 cent store stackable chairs that were the only other option.
“Wow,” said Chris. “You really are built for prison, huh?”