Seattle Blackout Baby Boom

I seem to know a lot of pregnant women right now, more than usual.  Maybe it’s because I attended a church with lots of hip, young urbanites who love babies.  But I’ve been there for awhile now, and there are more baby bumps than before. 

My live-in doctor tells me that the labor and delivery floor at his hospital is hopping right now.  That’s another tell-tale sign.

It must be 9 months after the Seattle power outage, which began December 14, 2006. 

I remember it well.  When you’re an online college instructor, a power outage is a serious setback, especially when you’re trying to grade finals.  Our part of the city was out of power for 5 days.  Some had it worse.  Further out in the suburbs, people didn’t have power for a week or more. 

I learned that presto logs don’t throw very much heat, but a down blanket, wrapped like a toga, can keep one warm when an apartment is in the 40 degree range.  It does limit mobility a bit.  Reading by candlelight also stinks.  I could never get enough candles around me to make it work.  They flickered too much and danced around the page.  I wondered how Milton used to write at 4:00 a.m., when he’d get up in the morning to do his work.  Then again, he did go blind. 

Another issue, hot water heaters don’t work, if they’re electric.  That was a major revelation.  Dan took his showers at the hospital, since they had generators for patients (and doctor’s showers, apparently).  I tried the European thing for a few days.  It wasn’t pleasant.  For once, Dan and I both agreed that I smelled worse than him.  A milestone in our relationship.  Actually, I wonder how all those people could stand to procreate, since they probably smelled so bad.

There’s historical precedent for this post-blackout baby surge.  The Northeast Blackout Baby Boom of 1965 is a prime example of what happens when the lights go out on a large scale.  Most of New York and New England was pitch black, starting around 5:00 p.m., one cold November evening.  The power stayed off for about 12 hours, long enough for people to find creative ways to keep warm.  Record numbers of babies were born just about 9 months after that night.  Coincidence?  I think not.

I was at the community pool the other day, and my neighbor showed up, with a significant belly bulge of her own.  I asked her when she was due, and it was sometime around today.  She told me, “Blackout baby.”  I smiled, not knowing how to respond.  “Nothing better to do,” she said. “Guess not,” I said.  Poor kid, I thought.  It’s going to grow up knowing exactly how it was conceived.  There are some things children just don’t need to know.  That’s probably one of them. 

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Published in: on September 14, 2007 at 7:33 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. That raises all sorts of questions on the true impact of media on us as a culture. Not only does the TV, iPod, and Computer keep us from enjoying our already existing family, but now from even starting one?

    Blackouts don’t sound so bad after reading this!

    It’s like my friend from Denmark said when she last visited. Some friends, including myself and her, were gathered around after church and we were all discussing what to do to “hang out.” The general consensus was to go see a movie, to which our foreign friend replied, “Why do you Americans consider watching a movie or tv fellowship? You never talk, you never even look at each other! How do you really know each other? Let’s just sit around a room and talk to each other, ABOUT each other and God”

    What a novel concept..


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