1/1/11: Our New Year’s Baby

Couples may be actively trying for an 11/11/11 due date, but the truth is that the coolest birth date of them all was taken, by none other than my own sweet new daughter Yael, born on New Year’s Day, 1/1/11.

Though she wasn’t due until 1/11/11, an awesome due date in and of itself, Stephanie had been having contractions on and off for a few days in late December. During a quiet New Year’s Eve dinner at home with our 4-year-old Adira and next-door-neighbor Claudia, Stephanie announced that this was It, the real thing, labor. As luck would have it, Claudia had previously agreed to stay with Adira when the time came, so we got our stuff together and headed out.

I’ll say this for a New Year’s Eve labor: the Labor & Delivery floor was quiet, and the nurses were in a festive mood (and wearing goofy New Year’s hats). They confirmed that Stephanie was, indeed, in labor. And things picked up for a while there. Contractions came quicker and were more intense. We were on our way.

Until it seemed like we weren’t. By morning on New Year’s Day, the contractions had all but stopped and we began to think we’d be having a Jan. 2 baby. By evening, we were dejected, exhausted, and wondering who would stay with Adira for that second night. Stephanie’s OB recommended a sedative so she could sleep for a few hours and regain her energy. He even suggested I go home to get some rest myself and sort out the childcare situation. “You have at least two hours, probably three or more,” he assured me.

The idea of leaving seemed preposterous to me at first, but with Adira freaking out at home and our doula at the hospital to care for Stephanie while she slept, Stephanie urged me to go.

Being home calmed me greatly. Adira was thrilled to see me, and Claudia, a saint, agreed to stay over again. I started bed-time routine with Adira, figuring I’d shower and head back soon after. But as I sang Adira’s good-night songs to her, my phone rang. The doula. No emergency, she said calmly, but while the sedative was making Stephanie groggy and incoherent, her uterus was starting to wake up. Things may be happening quicker than we’d thought. Or they might not. But, she said, you may want to come back sooner than you’d planned.

As I got ready to leave a few minutes later, she called again. Stephanie was fully dilated, suddenly. They would do what they can to hold her off, but this baby was ready to be born. I drove faster than I care to admit, hitting potholes painfull hard in New York’s winter road conditions, and I made the 50-ish minute trip in about 35. As I sprinted in, Stephanie was screaming in pain (though still comically incoherent from the sedative), but I’d made it in time.

After 15 minutes of pushing, birth, a healthy girl, and a successful VBAC to boot. Yael was born at 9:55 p.m. on 1/1/11. We were even front-page news in our local Riverdale Press for having the first neighborhood baby of the new year. In the days ahead, I’d discover that that wild ride broke one of our tire rims, flattened another tire, and destroyed our shock absorbers.

Car repairs–hundreds of dollars. Being there on time for the birth of my daughter–priceless. Welcome to the world, little one!

Photo: Yael at 5 weeks.

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  1. by Lisa Hernandez

    On February 11, 2011 at 9:53 am

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your experience – what a fantastic story you will have to tell Yael about the day she was born when she gets a little bit older! :) Congratulations on your beautiful, expanding family!

  2. by Tameika

    On February 11, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    What a great story! Thanks for sharing. :-) And what a beautiful name!

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