Friday night we came back to the house around nine or ten, both of us sure that the baby was not going to come until Saturday or Sunday––if we were lucky. Sof went to sleep without much effort and we were just winding down from a busy week.
I was sitting in bed reading about the environmental troubles facing modern China (boring, I know) in a great book I'm reading called Collapse. when suddenly, Dana's water broke. Within five minutes my adrenaline level hit the roof and we were scrambling to get our overnight bag together and make sure someone would be able to come stay at our house to be with Sofi. (Thanks Sabba, Safta and Nat!)
By the time we hit the thruway it was midnight, and after a few minutes we hit the worst traffic I'd seen in a long time on the thruway during rush hour––and it was midnight! We had just passed an exit about a mile back, so it was too far to drive the shoulder backwards. I put a call into 911 and told them our situation:
I've got a pregnant wife here...her water just broke.. she's having pretty major contractions...we're heading north on the NY State Thruway, between Exit 14B and the toll booths... we're in a blue Toyota Rav4 and we're in the right lane...we're stuck in major traffic and we need to get to Good Sam Hospital in Suffern
Long story shorter (since I only have a few minutes until one of the little ones needs us), the nearest state trooper was far away, and for him to cut through the traffic from where he was would be much too late for us. So I did what every man dreams of doing with a pregnant wife in his car––drive like a maniac.
I was driving on the shoulder, weaving in and out of traffic cones marking a construction site which was the reason for all this untimely traffic. Oh, and I bet you can guess how many workers were on the scene... not one! Might have been a lunch break or something. Whatever. Every few minutes or so we received a call from the dispatcher in the thruway authority command center asking where we were, and his tone changed from indifference to emotionally invested, as if he were part of an important event. He became a cheerleader of sorts. He told me the contruction site was breaking down, and that traffic would clear up after the tolls, from which we were still pretty far from. I made him promise that he knew what he was talking about, since I didn't get my Labor and Delivery merit badge during my stint as a Boy Scout. He laughed and swore with a scouts honor, so we pressed on.
He was right, after we reached the tolls by Chestnut Ridge, the traffic did, in fact, begin to break apart, albeit one lane. So a little bit of fancy off roading got us to the head of the long line of truckers waiting to lay down some pedal to get to the other end of their runs. The Suffern exit came into view, the radiant welcoming green that shone in the night, easing my fears that I'd need to perform a C-Section in a Toyota Rav4 with a bunch of overtired truckers cheering me on.
The final check in call came from Mr. Anonymous at the thruway authority, and I'm sure it made his night to know that we were pulling off the highway to bring another life into the world that he played a small part in.
[ Due to crying baby, this story will be continued in next post ]