"As fast as you can, please," said Ace, as we stepped into each cab, "our sister is having a baby." I wanted to tell him to cut it out. Yes, Syl had gone into labor, but her water had broken in New Jersey and she and Jock were driving into the city. If they hit any traffic at all, we'd probably make it to the hospital before they did. I wanted to tell him to cut it out, but I couldn't; I was too excited. This wasn't my first niece or nephew, but it was the first one whose birth I would be present for.
We'd been eating a late dinner when the call came in. I got the details as soon as Ace got off the phone. Water has broken in New Jersey. Jock and Syl were driving to NYU Medical and we had been given a mission: Go to the West Side Giraffes' apartment, finish packing the bag for the hospital (this was, after all, three weeks before the C-section was scheduled) feed the cat (not actually part of the instructions, but we weren't going to let Yummy go hungry), turn around, go back to the East Side and meet them in delivery.
As it turns out, we didn't beat the parents-to-be to the hospital. Sylvia was in a bed talking to one of the doctors and waiting to be wheeled in for her emergency C-section. Ace and I settled into the waiting room. Soon, Syl's friends Miriam and Ben appeared. Miriam had taken a rare break from studying for her certification and they had been on their way to see to see "The Simpson's Movie." Plans canceled.
It was after ten, so we started making bets: Would the baby be born today or tomorrow (that is, after midnight)? I'd brought my homework for my writing class (it was my turn to submit a long short story - up to 15 double spaced pages), but it seemed impolite to work on it. Something momentous was going on - a couple was turning into a family.
Calls were ping-ponging across the country. I was especially taken with how excited Rivster was to be a Tanta. She's a mother three times over, so I thought this would be old hat for her, but she's never been on the Tanta side. And I'd never been on the sake side of the country as the child being born. I didn't know how exciting it would be, to have action ensue on my part once that first call - "It's happening!" - is made. For the first time, I realized what I had missed with Beernut, Poppyseed, and Peach.
I was surprised when Jock's friend Andrew appeared; I hadn't known he was in town. Ace gave him information on where to live and what paperwork he would need when he did apply for a place to live. He also convinced him to go back to Washington DC for a day to get all the paperwork together. (The strategy paid off, The other broker was so impressed that they had all their paperwork together ahead of time that he chose Andrew over some other guy who was willing to pay the entire year up front. Ah, the capriciousness of the New York housing market.)
So the five of us sat, chatting mostly about nothing, worrying a little. I made short work of the Chinese food. "The Jerk" was playing in the background when the new father appeared clad head to toe in protective clothing. And so, on July 30 at 12:08 a.m., three weeks earlier than the planned C-section, the Giraffes added a baby girl to our extended clan. Welcome, Sunflower.