Eight Months Pregnant and Out of Gas


It promised to be a hot summer that year. Late June and already stifling hot, I was eight-and-a-half months pregnant for my firstborn; a son, although I didn’t know that yet. I was a contract worker and would not be getting any time off except for six months maternity employment insurance. As I wanted every second of those six months to be with my new baby, I intended to work right up until I gave birth, if I could manage it.

I was putting in long hours at work every day, and each evening before leaving work, I would add to a growing ‘to do’ list I had been working on should I go into labour and not come back to work for six months. I wanted to be as prepared as I could be: nothing was going to tear me away from my baby any earlier than necessary. I had no intention of having to come in and explain anything to anyone during my maternity leave. I left my colleagues everything they required to keep going while I was gone. I made sure to cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’.

On this particular evening, I left work at 6:00 p.m. and I was starving. I decided to pick up a burger at a drive-through so I could eat as soon as I got home. My little car had seen better days and little bits of it had started to malfunction. Notably, the gas gauge was broken and always read ‘empty’ no matter how much gas was in the tank: I had taken to restarting the little mileage metre every time I filled up so I could estimate – with a fair amount of accuracy – how much gas I had left. I guess I must have been just a little preoccupied with the pending arrival of my baby because on this particular evening, just as I was paying the waitress at the drive through, my car stalled. I glanced in horror – first at the mileage metre and then at the cars lined up behind me – as I immediately understood I was out of gas.

At the window of a drive through

Red-faced, I explained my predicament to the bewildered waitress and then struggled to remove my considerable bulk from the car. Flustered, I gave the drivers behind me an apologetic look as I started to waddle across the parking lot to a gas station next door where – I hoped – they would be able to give me enough gas so I could get my car out of the way and then return to fill up properly.

I had laboriously toddled perhaps ten steps from the car when I stopped in dismay, realising that in my flustered state, I had just locked the car doors – with my purse and my car keys inside the car… By now crimson with mortification, I continued the long, hot trek across the parking lot and eventually ambled heavily into the gas station where I asked if they might have a ‘coat hanger and a little tank for some gas’.

Even in a big, impersonal city, folks are much nicer to you when you are almost nine months pregnant.

The mechanics gave me a long, odd look but otherwise, they didn’t say too much. They just moved seamlessly into action. In no time flat, they had raced over to the drive -through, unlocked my car, put the car in neutral; pushed it over to the gas station; returned my purse to its rightful owner, and proceeded to fill the gas tank to the brim.

One of the mechanics, clearly fearing for my safety as well as the safety of my pending offspring, stayed with me right until the end. He even stood, waving me off from the gas pump (I could see him clearly in the rear-view mirror) as he shouted, “Good luck to you, Mam!” with a doubtful look on his face that stated clearly my poor child didn’t stand a chance with a mother like me at the helm.

I have never forgotten their kindness, or their implied worry for my poor offspring.

And to this day, nearly thirty years later, I still reset the mileage metre to zero every time I fill up.

Just in case…

Source of photo

Patti Moore Wilson © wednesdayschildca.wordpress.com


Author: Patti Moore Wilson, wednesdayschild2

I write what I feel. And I rarely know exactly what I feel until I write. I have lived long enough to have known many joys and many sorrows. I have made many mistakes; I have forgiven myself for a few… I have learned that there are lessons in every step of this journey, if we only take the time to pay attention… I hope you will feel free to pick and choose the stories that resonate for you…

19 thoughts on “Eight Months Pregnant and Out of Gas”

  1. My brother had a car like that. Always on empty and he was always running out of gas. He’d push the car to a station and put some gas in it but he also needed to put a little into the carburetor or it wouldn’t start. Sometimes, when it did start, the engine would catch on fire because he’d spilled gas on it. He owned that car for a full three months before it finally died for good…

    … and THAT is why you don’t buy a car for two hundred and fifty dollars…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was brave to keep it for three months…😳 To this day, I STILL determine good mileage by how many kilometres I can go on a tank of gas. Except for this one memorable occasion, I got really good at knowing how full the tank was just by how many kilometres I had driven.


  2. Oh goodness…I feel so bad for your pregnant self. I have often caught myself almost running out of gas countless times..and always thankful that I get gas just in time. Kindness is all around us too, isn’t it? Not always…but sometimes when we most need it, it’s the greatest grace we could receive. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Love all your stories!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Isn’t it wonderful how some of the stressful experiences make us smile years later? I wonder about that sometimes…if it’s a subconscious choice on our part or if we just start to see things differently as we gain varied perspectives.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for sharing!.. perhaps it was meant to happen as a lesson not only about keeping an eye on the gas, but also learning that there are kind people in this world in spite of all the negativity… 🙂

    “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I will always remember the kindness of a fellow who helped me out when I had a tire blow out on the highway. It was the middle of winter, and my infant daughter was asleep in her car seat. I wouldn’t have been able to change the tire myself, as the lug nuts were so tight, I couldn’t budge them. I was so thankful that he helped me in my predicament!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was in university I had a friend whose car had two competing issues. The gas gauge didn’t work but he couldn’t top it up because the top of the gas tank had a leak. Total guess work not to mention driving a fire hazard.

    Liked by 1 person

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