It was a Thursday afternoon, and I was cooling off in the newsroom from the sweltering August heat and humidity.
You’d think I’d be used to August in Iowa after nearly a decade of covering news in the Midwest, but there is no conditioning when it comes to these thick, muggy temps.
My scripts were approved for the 5 p.m. show, and I was reapplying the navy blue eyeliner that had melted off my face earlier in the day.
That’s when the police scanners started blaring.
Personal injury crash…Multiple injuries…Motorcyclists versus semi…we’re getting reports of multiple injuries…Possible fatalities.
Dispatchers began paging first responders. The high-pitched emergency tones were my signal to drop the make-up and get out the door. After all, breaking news is what the news business is all about.
By the time I rolled up to the scene with our news crew, traffic was at a stand-still.
I hung my pinstripe suit coat around the back of the passenger seat, grabbed my yellow notepad and walked along what was usually a busy interstate in my black Kenneth Cole heels. It was eerily quiet. In my years of covering breaking news, I had never seen Interstate-380 like this before.
Life for hundreds of commuters suddenly stopped.
A semi-truck transporting heavy farm equipment crashed into a group of motorcyclists on the interstate. Three of them were dead.
At this same time – the very moment I was covering the fatalities of three motorcyclists in the middle of an interstate – there was a baby girl hundreds of miles away taking her first breath in this world.
I didn’t know it, but I would become her mom.
I was in the middle of I-380 the minute my daughter was born.
I was covering tragedy when my daughter’s birth momma welcomed our 6-pound baby girl into this world; she was preparing for her own heartbreak – one of saying goodbye to the precious life she lovingly brought into this world.
I’m grateful my daughter spent her first moments in this big world with her birth mom – moments they’ll never have together again.
And while I’m sad I missed watching her take her first breath, her first bottle; while I missed changing her first diaper, and the moment she snagged her first peek at the world through her most beautiful brown eyes…I sure am grateful I get to spend the rest of my life loving this sweet gal.
Happy 3rd birthday, Olivia. What an honor it is to be chosen as your mom.