By Bill Sniffin
If you were to ask the typical Wyomingite, you would find their favorite time of year is right now, and yes, it is because it is hunting season.
It is definitely my favorite time of year but my reasons have nothing to do with hunting.
When I look back on my life, most of the amazing events that occurred happened during October and November. This, of course, is not counting our wedding day or the births of our children.
I first met my future wife Nancy this time of year.
We moved to Wyoming 47 years ago in October.
We were able to buy the Lander newspaper in November.
Seems like most of the major media events in our lives took place at this time of year.
But the biggest event of all had nothing to do with business. It was personal. After three daughters, our son Michael was conceived in November and it was a miracle, all around.
Because of some serious health issues, my wife Nancy had had her tubes tied, so we never thought we would have any more children.
The odds are 5000:1 that a baby can be conceived after her procedure, which is called a tubal ligation.
For whatever reason, when her OB-Gyn Dr. Harry Tipton, an old friend, performed this routine sterilization procedure, it did not take.
Now we played an awful lot of tennis that summer, but does tennis cause fallopian tubes to grow back together after they have been severed?
To Dr. Tipton’s surprise and our shock, “we” were pregnant. She was working for another doctor, Dr. Ralph Hopkins, at the time and because of her increased appetite for pickles and green apples, the other gals in Hopkins’ office conspired to have the local lab do a urine test to find out if Nancy was pregnant, after all. Could it really be?
The test came back and as we old-timers like to say, the rabbit died. Whoever’s urine was submitted for that test was, indeed, pregnant.
Dr. Hopkins asked me to come by his office. He had something to talk with me about. I was totally blind-sided but, with a deep breath, accepted the fact that I was about to be the father of a fourth daughter. As a typical dad, I had always hoped for a son during perhaps at least one of the three previous female births and, by now, assumed it was impossible for us to produce a baby boy.
Because of Nancy’s health issues, she had had a barrage of X-rays about the time of conception, so we headed off to Denver to meet with some specialists about the ramifications of how our baby could have survived such a blast of radiation.
Their conclusions were not good. One said, “That fetus is fried.” They recommended termination.
Nancy and I looked at each other and made a very somber decision. If we were going to give birth to a special needs child, then so be it. We would love this child and live with the consequences.
Nancy went full term and even a little past. We did not know if our baby was a boy or a girl but let me tell you, it seemed to me to be the longest pregnancy in history. We were scared to death during the entire time.
Dr. Tipton asked to participate in the C-section and said he would then make sure Nancy’s tubal ligation was permanent this time. Plus he wanted to see what had happened to his first procedure.
Nancy gave birth to a healthy baby. As I recall it, there had been ten boys born in a row in our local hospital. Thus, I totally assumed new little daughter Page was about to join her three sisters in our family.
So at Lander’s Bishop Randall Hospital, all the doctors even wore blue.
We were blessed and shocked to see a healthy little boy emerge. I had also scrubbed for the event and videotaped the entire process.
People all over were praying for us, as it was well known just how unique this whole pregnancy ended up being.
Today, 36 years later, our son Michael is happily married and working hard in Warden, Washington. He and his wife Lisa have four children and are leading a wonderful life. We just visited them there.
But please indulge me a little this time of year as I reflect on just how blessed a family can be during Wyoming’s famous fall weather.