BRONXVILLE - The definition of a turkey trot took on a new meaning for Ed Lam as he raced to the hospital just before Thanksgiving with his wife in labor. His son arrived in the parking lot, just beating him to the hospital door.
"Anne wanted a natural childbirth," said Lam with a chuckle. "But I guess this wasn't exactly the calm and beautiful experience that we were hoping for."
Anne O'Connor, his wife, gave birth to Jonah Francis Lam Monday afternoon after an unexpected rush to nearby Lawrence Hospital Center. Two years ago, the Eastchester couple said they went to the hospital "too early" for the birth of their first child so this time around they wanted to be more cautious.
"Normally when your contractions start coming in closer and closer together, you're supposed to go to the hospital," O'Connor said. "But mine seemed to be spreading farther apart."
O'Connor's contractions kicked in at her home Sunday around 10 p.m. and throughout the night, roughly came in every 7 to 10 minutes. But because the contractions weren't coming in as fast as expected, the couple decided to wait a little bit.
She decided to ease her "uncomfortable" pain by standing in the shower early Monday morning, advice she received from medical experts.
"I felt like I had to use the toilet," O'Connor said. "I didn't realize it was something else that wanted to get out."
Lam noticed O'Connor's body was preparing itself for delivery, naturally looking like it was trying to push. Lam quickly grabbed her wife and rushed her to the hospital. He said it seemed like he had to wait for a red light at every intersection he passed along the way.
"It was a 10-minute drive, but it felt a lot longer," Lam said. "But it's not a time to panic because your senses are more attuned in a situation like that. I knew my job was to get there and put my wife in good hands at the hospital."
Lam pulled into the hospital around 4 p.m., realizing he had gone through the wrong entrance. After turning around, Lam found the emergency room entrance and parked his car in front.
"I went around to open her door and look down to see how she was doing," Lam said. "As I'm looking down, I wasn't sure what I was looking at, and then I realize I am looking at my son's head."
Two paramedics in the same lot witnessed what was happening nearby and ran over to the car seconds later. At 4:20 p.m. Monday, baby Jonah was born inside the couple's car with no health problems.
"This really was a meaningful experience for me," O'Connor said. "This is a situation where we really had to rely on each other to get through this."
Lam added that although they didn't expect the child to be born this way, they were well prepared for the situation. The couple credited their doula, a trained pregnancy labor instructor, for preparing them.
"It wasn't a time to panic because we knew what was going on," Lam said. "When I saw the baby all purple and scrunched up, it didn't scare me at all because I knew what to expect."
Lam and O'Connor, who are expected to leave Lawrence Hospital Center today, will spend Thanksgiving weekend visiting O'Connor's sister in Katonah.