THE ARRIVAL OF JESSICA MARION HOWE
July 29, 1999
It all began like this:
Mommy's last day at work, at Pfizer, was Tuesday, July 27, 1999 (which was, coincidentally, her seven-year
anniversary with the company). She arrived home at 8 p.m., tired but excited that she was going to have the next
three weeks to do some of the little things she wanted to do to prepare for the baby's arrival, plus get some
much-needed and much-deserved rest. Three whole weeks to unwind, prepare, and enjoy herself.
Ten hours later, at 6:15 the next morning, her water broke. So did her spirits. In denial, she hoped that the gush
she'd felt had not been her water breaking but the pressure baby was putting on her bladder. A regular doctor's
appointment had been set weeks before for 9:45 a.m. with Dr. Ginsburg of Valley OB/GYN. Before heading to the
doctors', Mommy stopped off at the bank (a woman there said she looked as if she had "dropped" after Mom
explained to the teller, Gabby, that she felt as if her water had broke but she wasn't 100-percent sure).
Dr. Ginsburg turned out to be 100 percent sure; being a doctor, we were inclined to believe him. He instructed
Mommy to go straight home, relax, and do nothing until going to Valley Hospital in Ridgewood around 7 p.m. that
night. Mom, ever the rebel, immediately proceeded to do food shopping (after calling Dad at work and sobbing
about her "lost three weeks"). Hey, there wasn't much food in the house, and as you will one day come to know,
Baby Jessica, Daddy panics when there is no food in the house. He panics more when there is no food in his
Anyway, food was purchased and brought to the food-depleted house, and then Mommy called Grandma and
Grandpa Jenkins to let them know that you were on your way. Daddy came home from work around 12:30, after
calling to let Grandma Howe know of your imminent and early arrival. Uncle Bill arrived at the house at around
5-5:30 to sleep over and babysit Princess.
Having been instructed by the doctor's office to call Valley Hospital around 5 p.m. to find what time to arrive at
the hospital, Mommy did so and was told to call back at 7 as a room was not available. At 7 we were instructed to
get to Valley at 8 p.m. We left home at 7:40, the last time we would leave home not being parents. (Before we left
we took a few photos of Mommy being pregnant; wait til you see them, they are funny). With a small bag for Dad
and an impossibly heavy bag for Mommy, we set off.
Mommy gets admitted and forms are filled out. At 10 p.m. Mommy is induced with Petocin. She slept on and off
during the night (Daddy was told he could go home but he wanted to stay overnight with Mommy, so he slept in
a pull-out chair), and early in the morning began to feel mild cramps. At 4 a.m. Daddy gets up and get refreshed to
start his job as Daddy/coach/caregiver/significant other. At 4:50 a nurse explains to Mommy that she can have
Demerol, a painkiller that will make her feel groggy and only take the edge off the pain. Mommy, being a trooper,
says: "Let's wait on that." Daddy thinks: Wow, she's toughing it out, she's going to go for a while and bear the
Ten minutes later she begs for Demerol and gets it. It works for a couple of contractions and then Mommy is
uncomfortable again. Daddy is thinking about asking for Demerol again...for himself. At this point Mommy is two
centimeters dilated and 80 percent effaced. An hour later she is 5 centimeters--halfway there! Contractions have
been coming two minutes apart and Daddy is doing his best to make Mommy comfortable--helping her breathe
and focus and rubbing her legs.
At 7, Dr. Russo is on call, and Mommy says she wants an epidural (a numbing painkiller administered through the
spine). She gets it around 7:20 and goes to sleep. At around 7:45, with Mommy sleeping and comfortable now
that the pain has been blocked, the nurse sends Daddy downstairs to get breakfast. He eats in the employee
cafeteria (scrambled eggs, potatoes, a Danish, and of course tea) and reads his new Stephen King novel "Hearts
in Atlantis" for a while. He heads back up to the birthing room at about 8:30, figuring it will be hours before you
Within fifteen minutes of Daddy's return, Mommy is suddenly 10 centimenters dilated and ready to go. Daddy
comes out of the bathroom to find two nurses hurriedly setting up the room for the birth. By 9, Mommy is
pushing; Daddy is helping her breathe, giving her ice chips, and being an all-around great if not mildly-queasy
coach. Nurse Nancy was there, too, assisting with the breathing and instructing Mommy on when to push.
After two hours of pushing, you were delivered into Dr. Ginsburg's waiting hands. Mommy and Daddy watched
the miracle together. It was a true miracle of God. As Dr. Ginsburg announced that we had a daugher, Mommy
and Daddy cried and kissed and hugged each other. Only a few minutes after you were born, after the house
pediatrician had cleaned you up and checked you over, you were placed in Daddy's arms. It was the best moment
in Daddy's life! He sat in the corner of the room with you as the doctor finished up with Mommy, and he just
stared into your eyes and fell in love. Then Mommy got to hold you and she cried, she thought you were so
We decided on the name Jessica Marion for you, and we are happy we did. Jessica means: "grace of God", and
we truly believe that you are here by God's good grace, Mommy and Daddy's beautiful gift. And Marion in honor
of your great-grandmother, Daddy's grandmother, who was a very special person in his life; we hope by giving
you her name you will have all of the virtues that made her such a wonderful person.
So Happy Birthday and welcome to the world, Jessica Marion Howe!
Always know that your Mommy and Daddy love you very much and that they will always try to be
understanding, supportive, and will help you every day, in every way, to be the best person you can be.
We love you!