We are pulled over on the shoulder of the road as a cop car swiftly approaches, bringing with it a cacophony of sirens and flashing lights in harsh reds and blues. As it passes, there is a rush of air in what can only be described as the sound of speed. Our car rocks in vibration as we watch amazed at the velocity and ferocity with which it blows by us. It occurs in stark opposition to the simple act of four friends headed out to dinner.
Assuming the excitement has passed, Jeff our driver, pulls back onto the road. We immediately hear another siren, not ahead of us, but from a side road to our left. “Wow, there’s another cop headed this way.” Bal marvels as we pass the side road it is coming out of. Shifting in my seat to look back towards the expected cop car coming out, I instead am witness to an older white beater of a car wildly exiting the same road. It is clearly out of control as it desperately attempts to cut the corner, tips onto two wheels momentarily, falls hard back down and squeals away. Cop #2 is directly on its heals so there is no turning back. There is no road ahead. It can turn right or left. Left leads straight for our car. The car, miraculously, turns right.
I exhale some of the air I have been holding in out of pure shock. “They went right.” I sigh. They went right. Looking down at my hands, I realize they have inadvertantely been clutching onto my 9 month pregnant belly. I have never been so desperate to get the hell out of a situation.
Looking back to the getaway car, we gape as it veers sharply into a townhouse complex. A neighborhood filled with young couples, families and dogs. I am simultaneously horrified at what could happen in there and relieved that my baby is out of danger. Shifting forward again in my seat, we continue down the road and away from the getaway car. Approaching a stop sign, it becomes evident that we are far from being out of danger however. More cop cars are rushing violently towards our street. They are coming from right and left and are all ready to turn down the road we are coming up from. Lights and sirens and tire and engine noises collide together unharmoniously, much like my own thoughts and fears in the moment.
As the cars barrel down on us, rationally I understand that at least these are well trained cops headed directly for us. Emotionally, however, I can only see multi car pile-ups, crashes and botched police investigations. I want to jump out of the car and run. I want to slam the car in reverse and get us the hell out of there. I want to curl up in the fetal position, hold on tight to my belly, and do whatever it takes to protect this baby that will be born anyday now. Logically, none of these things will help. It would, of course, only make things worse. But I am desperate. I don’t only want to get out of this situation, I need to.
Eventually, the cops pass safely by us. We are clear to go ahead and switch restaurant locales so as to have no chance in encountering anymore police or getaway vehicles. We go have a lovely dinner and remark throughout how crazy that whole experience was.
It is only later that I begin to process the enormity of the event. Had I not been pregnant, it may have been a wild story to tell. A scary, exhilirating event that got the adrenaline flowing. I would comment on those punk-ass kids and wonder if they were rebellious teenagers, meth addicts on a high, or a bait car target.
Instead, I just seeth anger. Who gives them the right to put my child, my baby who hasn’t even had a chance at breath yet, at risk. What gives them the fucking right? I am instantly ready to do whatever it takes to protect this life. I will guard, cover, attack and sacrifice all without a moments hesitation.
I am 39 weeks and 3 days pregnant. Up until now when asked the inevitable “So, are you all ready?” I have thought of all the stuff we have bought, the nursery painted, the bags packed for the hospital and answered “Well, as ready as we can be!” and laughed. But today, today I understand more deeply. Today I realize that I have already given myself unconditionally. Today I am a mother and yes, I am ready.