Teachers of New Jersey: An Emergency Delivery Gives Birth to a Charity Ride
NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to continue its Teachers of New Jersey series in 2017. Due to the overwhelming popularity of the series, it now comes out twice a month. This editorial series is curated by photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. These stories highlight the joys, struggles, and personal reflections that surround being a teacher.
“I teach science for 11th and 12th graders at Old Bridge High School. I came up through the Old Bridge school system. I didn’t know teaching was going to be my career. I was pre-med at Rutgers. While I was doing that, I went for a teaching certificate in my major, just to keep options open. I was substitute teaching in the day time, and while I went to school at night, and they asked me to come on board. 15 years later I still love what I do.’
“My wife Jessica and I started dating in 2013, and got engaged in 2015, and we got married the same year we got engaged. We started trying to have a baby in 2016, and got pregnant not much long after. Everything was going well with the pregnancy. She and the baby were healthy. On January 15th, 28 weeks into the pregnancy, my wife woke up, and she felt like her water broke. We saw the doctor, and it ended up being the amniotic fluid that was leaking, so they sent us to Monmouth Medical Center, where she stayed from that point on.”
“The next Tuesday, she started to not feel well, so she called for the nurse. She was going into labor again, and they moved her into the labor and delivery room. Not long after they did it became an emergency situation and Jess had to be taken away. They put scrubs on me to be with her, but when I went to go follow her in, they told me I couldn’t go. During all of this she had no preliminary anesthesia, and when they went into surgery, the anesthesia had not fully kicked in yet. The way they were seeing it was, it was an emergency situation, they didn’t know how the baby was yet. What my wife went through during that, there are no words to describe it.”
“Finally they came to me, and said, ‘Your baby boy was born, 12:25.’ It was on January 31st, 2017, 30 weeks into her pregnancy. I was so excited. They took me to see him, but they explained to me, that with everything going on, I wouldn’t be able to hold him for a while. It was tough to hear, but I knew my son was getting everything he needed there. I saw him, and that was awesome. They put him in the NICU after the delivery.”
“They both got tested for infections and other stuff, and they were fine. There was no appearance of anything wrong with either of them that caused the water to break so early. It happens more often than people realize, for many different reasons. Thankfully, our son is perfect. From the day he was born, it was all natural growth. He was born 10 weeks early, but he just wanted to come early.”
“When I was able to hold him finally, I was going to his room to give him some of Jess’s breast milk, and they were changing him. They asked me if I wanted to hold him, and when I finally did, that feeling was awesome. After everything we had been through, I was holding my son finally. It is like no other feeling in the world. He had a long road in the hospital still after that though, as they needed him to stay safe while he initially grew.”
“Caleb was going to need to stay in the hospital for a long time, so we qualified for the Ronald McDonald House. I checked it out, and after they showed me everything they had for us at the house, I told Jess, ‘We got to do it. There are meals there, it is comfortable, and it is so close to the hospital, so we can be there anytime. It will be so much better than commuting.’ So we stayed there, and it was such a great experience. We were able to be just a couple of minutes walking distance from the hospital, which was great on snow days and everything. That place is very special.”
“My wife has done a lot of the half marathons and 5K’s and the Turkey Trots, and she and I did a lot of charitable things in the past, and that’s when it dawned on me ‘Why not do something that just has to do with riding bikes down the shore, past the Ronald McDonald House, and raise money for it along the way?’ It was a really crazy time in our life when Caleb was born, and there were so many people who were there for us and helped us out, from nurses and doctors to volunteers, and I wanted to give back. This bike ride for this event was about 23 miles, and we raised over $2,000. I am going to do this annually for them.”
“My school was so supportive. One of the things I did was ask people to donate can tabs, where you take the tab off of the aluminum cans, because the Ronald McDonald House would exchange them for money, and I got boxes filled with them from kids and faculty at the school, and even teachers from the school district came over with bags of them. That’s one thing about our school and our district, if there is someone who needs help, they really show up to help.”
“Now it’s summer, and Jess and I can do everything we want with him, he is perfectly healthy. We take him to the beach, or to the pool, and go to carnivals or BBQ’s, and it is so nice to have that normalcy.”
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