Before I went out to start plowing I asked the girls to call the Bay Bridge Transit Authority to see if the bridge was open. I was finished pushing when Jake, Jason and Dad drove in to put the final touches on my job.
Mom, Lisa and Mindy made a bee line for the house to see how Jenny was doing. I wondered the same thing myself; I had been pushing snow for almost an hour. Where the snow was untouched it was to my waist and still snowing. I had one heck of a pile in the back and side yard.
The guys and I went inside to see what the situation was with Jenny. The contractions were 10 minutes apart and strong.
“Just when did the contractions start Jenny?” I asked.
“Yesterday afternoon, I think around 4,” Jenny replied.
“Why didn’t you say something?” I asked.
“With everything that was going on they were just a minor distraction and I thought it was just the boys getting active. I did not realize what they were until my water broke,” Jenny replied.
I did the mental math – four yesterday afternoon, water broke at four today, 12 hours of labor already. Maybe, just maybe, I had under estimated the strength of my dear Jenny.
We had a quick powwow. We were going to leave one plow here. Jake and Dad with Jason would each drive one. We would take two Suburbans to carry all us girls following the two plows.
Vicky had finally gotten through to Bridge Authority; one lane on each bridge was open for emergency vehicles and plows transitioning to the western shore.
301 was no better – barely one lane open with all the drifting snow and the wind was picking up. The state was working hard to keep the road open for utility trucks and those mandatory people that had to get to work. It was 6 AM when we got to the bridge.
The west-bound bridge is a three lane bridge; the plows were moving the snow to the right lane. There were several of those big snow blowers mounted on the front of large front-end loaders, simply blowing the snow over the side of the bridge.
Once over the bridge we made a little better time. There were more plows and more traffic on the road. It only took 45 more minutes to go from the bridge to the Jennifer Road exit where the hospital was.
It had been a two hour trip. Jenny was in the Suburban I was driving and I could hear every contraction getting stronger and more intense. One of the girls had called Dr. Peterson to let her know we were just a mile away.
We followed the sign to the emergency entrance. Dr. Peterson was there with several nurses and a gurney. Jenny was carried to labor and delivery. We had told Dr. Peterson that we wanted the biggest room she could get because Jenny wanted all of her family to witness the birth of our children, something that would never had happened 10 years ago.
Dr. Peterson did an exam on Jenny, “Oh my, 10 cm already – you have been in labor for a while.”
AAGH was one of the newer hospitals in the metro region and one of the oldest. Originally it had been in the old part of downtown Annapolis, was overcrowded and had no place to grow.
Finally in 1998 the hospital bought a 100 acre parcel on the outskirts of the city to build a modern hospital with the latest technology in medical care.
The local wealthy and famous people donated big time for the new hospital. One of the pavilions is named after a noted Hollywood game show host that calls Annapolis his home. He worked the local elite for donations to match his very generous gifts.
Their labor and deliver rooms were big and set up for families to be there for the delivery. Many hospitals forbid cameras in the rooms – not here. They even had video cameras mounted overhead to capture that special moment the baby made its appearance.
There were operating rooms on the floor with staff specially trained in neonatal care and C-sections. Babies or a mother in trouble could be in surgery in two minutes, the staff said.
We wanted it filmed for prosperity; there was no sure thing that it would ever happen in our family again. In the beginning the other girls were open to each having their own child but after seeing everything Jenny went through close up, I suspected that would not happen.
Each of us took turns by Jenny’s bed side. While there, we were also able to review what was happening to our business divisions.
I reviewed all the college security sites and was pleased to see everything was operating smoothly. I also checked the staffing logged in and on standby. I was pleased with what I saw.
Next I checked the embassy security sites. That was a different story. Everyday there were new alerts for some location. I hoped that the hiring process would stay on schedule but knew in my heart it would not be so. The compound was most likely done for several weeks. Getting the snow out of there would be a mess.
I finished everything I wanted to look at and then went to sit with Jenny and hold her hand. She moved over to the side of the bed. Every time she had a contraction she would close her eyes and squeeze my hand hard.
“You know I would trade places with you if I could,” I whispered to her in between the more intense contractions.
“Yes, I know you would, without hesitation. But I would not trade places with you. This is our love, our family for all of us,” Jenny said. Then she squeezed my hand so hard it hurt and so long that it started to go numb.
Lisa moved me away so she could hold her hand and talk with her. I walked out to tell the doctor that I thought the contractions were getting very close and intensive.
When I moved away Lorrie motioned me aside. “Did you look at the airport cameras?” she asked.
“No, why, is everything alright? The runway system is still working, isn’t it?” I asked.
“Yes, the runway looks good but there is one more plane in front of the terminal and when I looked back at the recordings they had pushed two smaller ones into the agency hangar as soon as they landed. Do you know what they are?” she replied as she turned her laptop to me.
“The one in front of the terminal is a C17, I wonder why it is there – with in-flight refueling it certainly could have flown well past the east coast storm,” I replied.
Then Lorrie changed to last night’s camera recordings. I watched in awe as two F16’s landed and taxied directly into the agency hangar.
“They are F16s and they look to me to be fully armed with missiles and bombs,” I replied to Lorrie’s question.
I wondered why they would have been at Morton Field at all. The only thing I could figure was that they were dispatched from some base not snowed in to respond to a radar sighting off the coast or else a high-level patrol.
Then they used afterburners aggressively – which suck fuel – expecting that an air tanker had been dispatched for refueling. It may have and had problems or been unable to make hookup to complete the refueling with the storm offered – the only explanation that I could think of.
I was jarred back to reality with an uncomfortable scream from Jenny.
“Delivery room the babies are coming,” as Jenny’s bed was being quickly pushed out the door into the hall.
Lorrie and I held Jenny’s right hand while Marcy, Ching Lee and Vicky held her left during the last big push.
Doctor Peterson cut the cord on the first beautifully healthy big boy and after the nurse did her duties, placed him in a blanket and gave him to Jenny to hold.
“Jacob Calvin Jones after your father and brother, BJ, he’s beautiful, here hold Jacob while I push again,” Jenny said.
A few moments later Robert Jason Jones, who was named after Jenny’s father and grandfather, was placed in a blanket and handed to Jenny.
I was crying, tears were running down my cheeks, tears of happiness. When my eyes cleared it was plain that I was not the only one crying. Our family was growing and our house would never be the same again.
Jacob had dark hair after the Jones side of the family while Robert – a lighter sandy blond – after Jenny’s side making the boys easy to keep straight.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.