IT FEELS STRANGE but nice to be in Washington during a congressional recess. Our baby is due on Wednesday. My job until then is to raise money for the campaign and to practice breathing techniques and other such things. When my first daughter, Julia, now 13, was born during my first marriage, we didn't opt for the natural route. So this is all new to me.
Played golf at Haines Point with my old friend, Terry Lynch, this morning. When I returned to our home on Capitol Hill, Myra said Bobby Walden had called and wanted to have lunch. We ate at Bullfeathers with Bobby, one of the stars of "Lou Grant," and with Rep. George Miller of California.
Julia comes in from Springfield to spend the night with us. I cook Chinese food. Before going to bed, Myra and I briefly review the "pant-blow" and "nose-snore" breathing learned in our Lamaze classes.
Go to Jack's junkyard in Arlington, where I finally find the part I need to put my 1965 Dodge Dart back on the road. Then I take some students from New Britain, the biggest city in my district, on a tour of the House chamber. One asks, "Where's your bodyguard?"
Have a long meeting with Leon Billings, director of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee. He's aware that I probably have the best shot of anyone of capturing a Republican Senate seat, but I remind him that we are getting killed in the money race.
Take my first run in about five weeks. It is that long ago that Rep. Marty Sabo landed on my foot and crushed my blood vessels in a basketball game in the House gym.
The due date. I still think it will be a girl. We really don't have a preference except for wanting a healthy child. Myra worries about that a great deal.
Her suitcase is packed. Hospital forms, proof of insurance, cornstarch (for
rubbing) and lotion, a list of people to be called, lollipops (lemon-lime) and countless other things.
Myra is still working on some legal cases. She's a public defender in the D.C. courts. She spends most of the day downtown.
I chair an oversight hearing on the EPA attempt to change and perhaps even abolish regulations on lead in gasoline. Our main weapon is to bring agency actions into public view, but this EPA leadership might well be beyond embarrassment.
Our fourth straight night home together. Something resembling a normal life. The Oriole game is on. They are floundering, definitely missing some leadership.
I read the Lamaze book "Labor Chart- Stages." Under "Coach's Assistance," I note that in Phase III of labor I am supposed to "check uterine contraction strength by fingertips on abdomen." Neither of us is quite sure what that means.
At 8 a.m., a call from the office: The speaker is trying to reach me from Boston. When I return the call, Tip's aide, Chris Matthews, informs me that the speaker has selected me to represent the Democratic Party on Saturday in replying to the president's noontime radio address. A big break for me.
I have meetings today on how to raise money. The word is out about the Saturday speech. Phones ringing off their hooks.
I take a chance and go to New York. I have appointments to see Cy Vance, Howard Samuels and others who might help with fund-raising. The doctor told me that labor is typically about 12 hours for the first child, so I am prepared to run to the shuttle if Myra calls.
I am home by 7 p.m., and Myra reminds me that Ray Benton is having a dinner party. On the way over Myra, two days overdue, feels what she thinks is a contraction. After the cocktail hour, as we are about to sit down to dinner, she feels another one. On the way home she says, "I'm pretty sure I'm going into labor."
I awake at 2 a.m. to hear heavy breathing; I think it is the "puff-blow" variation.
"Are you all right?" I ask. "Is this it?" "Yea, this is it, I'm pretty sure," Myra says, "but go back to sleep.
They're not very frequent yet and you'll need your rest later to be a good coach." She falls back asleep herself.
At 4:35 a.m., I jump up when I hear what is unmistakably a "cleansing" breath. Myra says her contractions are about 15 minutes apart. I take out the stopwatch I use in the subcommittee to time them.
At 7:30 a.m., the contractions are about 10 minutes apart and 30 seconds long. Myra and I are now downstairs. She says the contractions hurt less when she is standing up.
At 8:40 a.m., Willie Blacklow, my press secretary, calls to report that his press sources think Reagan's speech will be on the economy. I tell him Myra is in labor. Willie is stammering, stunned.
At 8:45 a.m., between contractions, I run to the Italian grocery on Pennsylvania Avenue to get a Post. About 10 minutes later, a blood discharge indicates it's time to call the doctor. He tells us to come in.
At 9:30 a.m., we arrive at Georgetown hospital and are set up in a room just inside the door leading to the delivery room.
David Dreyer, my legislative director, is in the waiting area down the hallway. What are we going to do about the speech I am to deliver at 1:05 p.m., an hour after the Reagan address? I have been jotting down notes in between contractions and leg rubs for Myra. I also have some text that Chris Matthews submitted for my consideration, and David has arrived with four pages he produced last night. All on the economy.
At 10:45, Dr. John Queenan arrives. Myra and I watch carefully as the baby's heartbeat shows up on the monitor. We have been told by so many people that if it's over 140, it's a girl, under 140 a boy. The nurse announces the reading: 140.
At 11, I tell Queenan about my 1:05 problem. He says it's too early to tell, but his guess is that we could well be in the delivery room at 1:05. Myra's contractions are getting much more intense and frequent. I am writing frantically about the economy in between. David pops in occasionally with messages.
At 11:25, we get the news: Reagan will talk on arms control. Contractions now about 3 to 4 minutes apart and a minute long. I'm rubbing Myra's legs and trying to figure out what to do next. I meet David in the corridor and ask him to call four or five of the people who advise us on arms control. All are either out or talking to someone else on the phone.
At 11:50, Queenan now says there is virtually no chance we will be through much before 1 p.m. I ask if it's better to stick with the 1:05 speaking time or of it would be better to try and push it to 2:05. He advises that the latter would be preferable.
At 12:05, David comes into the room and we turn the radio on for Reagan's speech. I ask Myra if it is bothering her. She asks if we can move Reagan out in the hall. David disappears with the radio and a note pad.
At 12:20, Myra is beginning to push. I've tossed the stopwatch and the Lamaze book aside and am holding Myra's head while a nurse and a resident doctor hold her legs.
At 12:45, I catch a glimpse of the baby's head. A tiny bit of hair. I'm trying to concentrate on this and not arms control. Myra is doing wonderfully but is in incredible pain. We ask her to hold her next push for 10 seconds and she obliges. At one point, with water streaming down her face, she jokes, "I knew I should've worn waterproof mascara."
At 12:55, Dr. Queenan gives the signal and it is time to head for the delivery room. He's very calm. "Let's go have a baby, Myra."
Two medical students have received our approval to watch the delivery. Myra is in the stirrups. The mirror is placed so she and I can watch the delivery. She begins pushing again.
At 1:02, Mary Ellen Moffett is born. One nurse makes the announcement: "Girl, 1:02." One of the medical students appears to be fainting. The doctor orders a stool for him. Myra is asking, "Is she all right?" Everyone assures us that all is well. At 1:25, we are back in the labor room. Myra is about to nurse Mary Ellen. David is outside the door, very nervous. I lean out and say, "We have plenty of time. It will only take about 10 minutes to get to CBS."
At 1:40, David and I rush out of the hospital to his station wagon outside. I change into a suit in the car and review the scribbled notes. I then quickly write the outline for what I want to say, inserting Chris Matthews' line about how Ronald Reagan used to broadcast baseball games not by attending the games but by calling them from statistics that came over the telegraph wire. He's doing the same thing now in reinterpreting unemployment statistics.
At 1:55, we arrive at CBS. The press corps is outside, many of them yelling congratulations. I produce a note from Dr. Queenan asking that I be excused for being late.