On April 20th we headed for NYC in anticipation of the birth of our 27th grandchild, son/daughter of Eli and Julie who are living on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The baby’s due date was April 21, so we were dismayed when we got as far as Denver and our flight was cancelled due to bad weather at LaGuardia. BUT we rented a car and drove to a hotel (40 miles away) and enjoyed the beautiful Denver Aquarium before we could manage to get on another flight that night.
We finally arrived in NYC just before midnight and Eli, who had rented a beautiful zip car, picked us up and whisked us to their apartment where we were so happy to arrive before the baby did!
The next day was my birthday and we spent a glorious warm spring day with Zara, Eli and Julie at Central Park which is a ten minute walk from their five story walk up! That little two year old is a pro on a scooter and scooted all over the park like nobody’s business! Is she cute enough?
After a long, cold, snowy winter in New York, this day was a splendid gift on one of the first truly warm spring days for everyone strolling in that amazing, sprawling wonder of nature right in the middle of one of the most densely populated cities in the world!
We wandered over to the Bethesda Fountain where we have packed away many happy memories of Tal and Anita’s wedding day! The pictures we took there of all our children and their spouses on that momentous day are priceless. The magnolias were incredible and Julie was amazing, waiting patiently for that baby to arrive!
Below is Zara just taking a twirl around the courtyard, waiting for the bubble lady (see her blue bucket on the left).
And she showed up…magical!
We noticed a restaurant across a nearby pond and ventured over to see if we could enjoy lunch on the patio! It was the best birthday lunch ever with food…..to die for! I had plake with a divine sauce and the specialty of the day…halibut was the best we’ve ever tasted! Kudos to the chef!
Zara was perfectly happy with her “entertainment.”
Back at the apartment, Zara showed off her tricks for us with her dad and enjoyed her last hours as an only child!
That night Grandfather and I ran off to our last chance to see a Broadway play before the baby arrived and soaked in the “unique” wonders of Times Square. We saw An American in Paris, which we highly recommend! Not only did we love George Gershwin’s music but the dance was mostly first class ballet. Spectacular! This terrific musical picked ups 13 Tony Nominations the following week.
The next day was the waiting game. Baby was two days overdue and counting! Next door neighbors dropped by to wish us the best and Julie and I took Zara to the Natural History museum which also a ten minute walk away. It is the hangout for all the young moms in the neighborhood, especially when the weather is bad and living quarters are small!
Adorable next door neighbor (6 inches away) wishing Zara the best, assuring her that everything is going to work out alright for her. She knows because she has two younger siblings including a 5 month old baby.
Taking the elephant for a stroll….
And we were getting messages and well-wishes from our other children all over the world. This family below had just moved to Switzerland were sending good wishes and taking a little vacation in Venice before Tal starts his new job there next week”
And Charity and Ian were out of touch in the trekking land of Nepal during the earthquake. Story on that here.
Eli and I took Zara to a nearby playground while Julie took a nap and that little daredevil Zara showed us her stuff!
This how you live in a one bedroom, five story walk-up with a two year old and a soon-to-appear new baby. This is Zara’s bedroom. Her crib fits perfectly in their closet. They have to barricade the doors and put her pajamas on backwards, otherwise she takes all her clothes off, wets the bed and then easily climbs out! This girl is full of pizzaz!
Every square in of Eli and Julie’s beautifully decorated and organized apartment is well-planned and skillfully used!
Time marched on and Zara, not really totally unaware of what was about to happen, played with another cute friend and had fun with yogurt:
The morning of April 24th, was the exact birthday of her little cousin Shelby, born one year ago and the anniversary of Shelby’s parents. By late afternoon with no signs of labor, we had decided that we weren’t going to add another Eyre birthday that day. At about 5:30 p.m. Julie wondered if she had just had a real contraction. Five minutes later another and then another and another. Julie called the midwife and she told Julie to sit down for half an hour and if they are still coming regularly to come on in. Julie agreed and said she would just put Zara to bed and be on her way. By 6:45 the midwife said, forget putting Zara to bed. Come in ASAP!
Eli plopped Zara in bed a little early and left a monitor with the neighbors who were glad to help. An half an hour later, Julie started down the stairs but stopped at every floor to push against the wall and work through yet another contraction, all three to four minutes apart. We hailed a taxi and instructed the driver to pick up their doula on the way to the hospital. A very nervous driver drove right into rush our traffic which was probably the longest 25 minute taxi ride Julie has ever had with contractions becoming stronger and every three minutes all the way. We arrived at the hospital at around 7:30 and Julie hustled into the hospital to try to make it to the elevator before the next labor pain….failed!
She was taken straight to triage! The midwife had arrived at about the same time and while the Doula and I waited, Eli went into the room as the midwife left to dress in scrubs when Julie said, “Eli, I have to push!”
To make a short story even shorter, we were rushed into a delivery room at about 8:10 and the baby arrived at 8:27. Julie was determined to have a natural birth but didn’t figure on quite that natural! She was positively stunning through the whole process. No panic, no moaning, groaning, yelling or swearing . She just delivered that peaceful and calm, purple little boy with grace and incredible excitement and some pretty strong urging from the nurses as the baby’s heartbeat was slowing with every contraction. The complete delightful story through Eli’s eyes complete with his extraordinary photographs are on his blog here. The purple faded within hours!
And this daddy was so delighted to welcome this beautiful little son. They wanted the sex to be a surprise and it was such a fun one! He was 7 lbs 15 ounces, 20 inches. A huge baby for tiny Julie to deliver! Their first delivery was breech so this one, though not without his own drama, was such a relief!
This was the view out the delivery room window on that remarkable rainy night in New York City. A star was born!
Rick had gone to spend a few hours with Saydi and Jeff and fam in Boston and of course, as soon as he left, the baby arrived. It was fun to Facetime with them and see their delight at seeing that new baby!
Jeff looks pretty interested but you can tell how much Saydi wishes she was there…more than anything! Poor baby was pretty swollen up from his hasty delivery but there is still a strong sibling resemblance as Eli managed to find Zara’s newborn picture on his phone.!
These first moments and hours of a newborn’s life are my absolute favorite thing to be a part of. . A little bundle from heaven drops into his new earth life, delivered by angels whom he/she continues to converse with for quite some time. Too bad those babies can’t talk! And when I think how this little guy lucked out to drop into this fabulous family, it brings tears to my eyes. Welcome to the world! “You’re gonna love it baby!”
It was a night emblazoned on our memories forever. Thanks Julie and Eli for letting me be a part of it! The NAME and what happened next coming soon!