To say it was an amazing – and crazy – Valentine’s Day would be an understatement. We were surprised by the early arrival of our second son, and man, I feel blessed. I still can’t believe how it all went down…
All week I was trying to plan dinner and a movie for Valentine’s Day, but I was having a hard time getting a reservation at a good time. Then, while doing some research, I found out that Lauryn Hill, one of my favorite singers of all-time, was coming to perform at the Howard Theatre in D.C. Perfect plan. We could go to our favorite restaurant, Shake Shack, have a burger and head to the concert after that. Shake Shack is my wife Angie’s favorite place, so it was looking like it was all working out.
Fast-forward to Saturday morning. We have the babysitter all set up for our 2-year-old Judah. We were hanging around the house, and I went out around 3 to get a snack because we weren’t going to leave Baltimore until around 7.
While I was out, my wife calls me saying, “I think my water broke, but I’m not sure.” Okay, so I come back home. I’m thinking she’s probably experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions (which are like fake contractions), which she’d been having throughout the pregnancy. I come in the house, and I see her leaning over with her hands on her knees, clearly in a lot of pain. Okay, this is not Braxton Hicks, this is a contraction. I was like, okay, I guess we are going to have a baby soon, maybe tomorrow. In our first pregnancy, it took 10-12 hours until the baby came after her water broke. I wasn’t worried; I thought maybe we still had time to catch the show!
Angie called her doula, who told her to wait at home until the contractions reach a minute in length. Not even 10 minutes went by after she hung up the phone, and I looked over at her and she was having a contraction…and it was one minute in length!
Time for the two-minute drill. Right now! Thankfully she already had her stuff together. I needed to pack a bag. What are we going to do with Judah? While we’re trying to get that squared away, the contractions are getting worse. Forget everything else, we need to leave the house. Judah is coming with us.
At this point, it’s 6p.m. and the snow is coming down crazy. I’m driving, worrying about traffic because I’m thinking people are going out for Valentine’s Day. The snow made it worse. It was dark, I couldn’t see the road in front of me. I was leaning to the side, trying to find an open space on my windshield.
Mind you, the birthing center is closer toward Annapolis, which is about a 45-minute drive without traffic. No telling how long it’s going to take now. I can’t speed because the road is slippery. We’re driving by wrecks on the road. There was a salt truck in front of us. While everybody else was slowing down, I’m the guy going around him.
About halfway there, these contractions are getting really bad. Angie’s squeezing my hand and yelling. My son’s in the back yelling and crying because she’s yelling and crying. The nursery rhyme CD he likes is blasting. At this point, she’s throwing up. It’s crazy right now in the car. I was trying to be the calm one in the vehicle. Internally, I’m freaking out.
Just get us there safely and fast. The contractions are like four minutes apart. When we were getting close, she looks at me and screams, “He’s ready to come out!” Even though we are still about 30 minutes away, I keep telling her that we are almost there, to keep breathing, hold on. At one point, I’m thinking, man, we might have to stop this car and I might have to deliver this baby.
Thank God, when we got toward the backstreets close to the birthing center, it was almost all green lights. I was just trying to be supportive. As soon as we got there, they were waiting for us outside. They took her in, and one of the doulas took Judah. I still had to play my part and be there for her. I’m in there sweating, knees buckling. I was trying to be the support system.
Before we knew it, Zion Jay was here.
When the baby came, after all the hard work, everything we had been through to get her there…to see him come out, it’s always emotional, fighting back the tears. Judah was able to hold Zion a little bit. It was a blessing, an exciting time.
When you have one child, you feel like you could never have the same love for another. But you do. Even though it was our second time, man, it was still emotional, it was still heartwarming to see him come out, to hold him…it was special.
Angie was a trooper. She did this, for the second time, with no drugs. Since we were at a birthing center, we probably could have come home that night. But because the storm was so bad (the winds were really blowing), they recommended we stay over at the birthing center. Angie was okay, Zion was ok, and we were able to come home on Sunday.
The first night at home was a little tough, but Zion is doing a good job with the sleeping. He is waking up to eat during the night, but then goes right back to sleep. And he’s sleeping a lot of the day, so it’s a lot easier than the first time around (Judah was NOT a great sleeper!). Of course, it’s still draining for Angie. My mother-in-law got into town yesterday, so hopefully we’ll get some more sleep.
Judah is doing good as a big brother. He’s getting a lot of daddy time. I took him to a little My Gym class, which is an activity center for toddlers. We go there and hang out. Of course Angie and I want to make sure he still feels loved, so quality time is important.
For me, I’m taking on more of a role during the off-season. It’s a special time to be a father, spend time with the family. There’s nothing like it. Being a father is one of the greatest gifts that you can have. Seeing both of my sons now, carrying my features, it makes me want to go out and make sure I’m providing for them the right way, make sure I’m protecting them and leading them the way I’m supposed to. That way we can leave a lasting legacy way beyond my lifetime.
Oh and another bonus: Lauryn Hill tweeted at me saying congratulations on baby Zion. We knew that were going to name our son Zion. She has a son named Zion and a song “To Zion.” And our baby was born on the night that we were supposed to see her perform. It was just crazy how it all happened!