So, usually guys, usually I come to work at 9:00 in the morning. I came into work just about an hour ago today, because my wife gave birth to a baby boy yesterday afternoon. And I thank you. So much.
Here’s the thing. Two years ago I sat at this desk and I told a story about how my first son, Ashe, was born and how it was very dramatic in that my wife, her contractions started coming very quickly, very suddenly, and we were really worried that she was going to give birth in the Uber. And we just made it, just made it to the hospital with basically 20 minutes to spare. Well, move over, that story, because that’s so normal compared to what happened yesterday.
Wake up, totally normal Sunday. Go to brunch. We’ll go to the park. My wife starts feeling something. We’ve been talking to the doctor. We have a friend, our friend Neelu is, she’s a doula. She’s like a midwife. Talking to her. Everything sounds fine. But we’re thinking today is the day. We’re going to work our way to the hospital. But again, nothing, 20 minutes apart everything’s fine. I’m feeding our son Ashe lunch. My wife is upstairs with my mother-in-law, Joanne. And about 20 minutes into lunch, Joanne comes downstairs and just looks at me and says: ‘We have to go to the hospital now!’ Which was not the calm I was looking for. It was like Bill Paxton in Aliens. It was like, ‘Game over, man!’ I’m like, ‘Whoa.’
Because Joanne hadn’t been there the last time. I’d been there. And so I kind of knew how dramatic it was last time, but I figured we had plenty of time to get to the hospital. So my sister-in-law, Ariel, she comes over to watch Ash, who’s in his crib taking a nap. Neelu joins us. And the four of us get in the elevator. My wife is in an intense amount of pain. It seems like now it’s just one long contraction. We get into the lobby of our building. I have called an Uber. The Uber is outside. And we basically get to the steps of our building, we’re in the lobby and we’re walking down the steps and my wife just says: ‘I can’t get in the car, I’m going to have the baby right now, the baby is coming.’
And I, I just am trying to calm her down. I’m like, ‘Look, this is’ – and again, I know because I’ve been through exactly one birth. I’m like, ‘This happens all the time. You’re feeling – it’s not – trust me, I know what I’m talk…’
But even our doula, Neelu, was saying, like, ‘Look it’s this is – you’re going to be fine.’ And she’s like, my wife is saying: ‘The baby is coming, the baby is – the baby is out.’ At which point Neelu looked and then looked at me and said: ‘The baby is out.’
And I looked at my wife. And the only way I can describe how my wife looked was she looked like someone who was hiding a baby in a pair of sweatpants. It was like somebody was trying to like sneak a baby on a plane. And so then we’re — like, we bail. We’re not going to leave. So we walk back in and we had to decide, do we go into the lobby or back on the elevator. Those are terrible options when what you’re looking for is a hospital. Because neither of them are very close to a hospital. So my wife basically decided for us and she went and lied down in our lobby. And — and we just sort of like created like a semicircle around her and you know, we undressed her and the baby was just out. The head of the baby was out. I called 911. This is how fast it happened. I called 911 and over the course of a minute conversation I basically said: ‘We’re about to have a baby, we’re having a baby, we had a baby.’
It was, I went from someone like calling in about an emergency to just sharing good news with a stranger. It’s like, ‘Yeah, it’s a boy. Yeah, it’s great. You’ve probably got stuff to do.’ Anyway, so my wife basically takes our baby and puts him on her chest and is incredibly calm for what she just went through. And then the fire department, NYPD, the amount of people that were in our lobby was insane. What? You don’t believe the entire fire department came into our lobby to help us deliver our baby? There they are. Look at that, New York’s finest. Look at it. Look at that cool dude. Knew to put my hand on her head. There’s that. Did not — no one offered me oxygen, I should point out. And then I had to call our doctor. I’m calling our doctor. One of the firemen cut the umbilical cord. That is something, I guess, they also know how to do. Which is incredible, did a great job. Because when we got to the hospital, I said: ‘How is that?’ And they go, ‘He did a great job.’
And the other crazy thing was our neighbors – like other people – like, people live in this building and our doormen who are amazing, they basically were stopping neighbors from walking into their own lobby because of what was happening. And the other thing was my wife was like facing – her legs were like facing the elevators. And like thank god no one came down, because that would have made for so many awkward interactions for the rest of the time. Like, ‘Hey, I was there that day.’
So – and we have not, I should point out, we have not lived in this building for a long time at all. We just moved in at the end of last year. I’m so glad we are already co-op approved, because I don’t know. And these people, you know – I just – I know a little bit from the elevator, I know a little bit from the lobby. I mean, I cannot tell you the kindness we experienced from them. People running up to get us blankets, they were putting towels in their dryer so we had warm towels to keep the baby warm. It was just this incredible outpouring of kindness from people we barely knew. I kept apologizing. I kept being like, ‘I’m so sorry about this.’ And of course everyone was saying, ‘Oh my god, oh my god, don’t worry.’ Which was so sweet to do. And of course there’s no alternative. It’s not like I would say, ‘Oh my god, I’m so sorry.’ And they would say, ‘This isn’t what the lobby’s for!’
And then EMTs came and the EMTs got her onto the stretcher. And then we went – there was an ambulance waiting for us. And we got in the ambulance. And as we were loading my wife in the ambulance – it’s a one-way street, so there was one car waiting for us to load my wife in the ambulance. And again, I said to him, I’m like, ‘I’m so sorry.’ And he did this, which was the most New York thing. He just went [ throws both hands in the air in resignation ] Like he was like, ‘I got, alright. Yeah, okay. I don’t have a choice.’
And — and then, and when we got to the hospital and everything — everything was fine. It was — you know, it’s crazy obviously, anything — any time anyone has a baby, it’s crazy. But I just — I owe so — there’s just so many people, if you don’t mind, I would like to thank. I would like to thank our incredible doorman Kevin Ramon. I would like to thank the NYPD. I would like to thank the firemen from engine 24. I would like to thank our incredible EMTs who showed up and got us to our hospital. Our doctor, Dr. Roamoff, the incredible staff at Lenox Hill. F*** the Uber driver, who charged me. I mean, for real. Because we did you a huge favor. We were about to like negative star your Uber. Also want to thank my sister-in-law, Ariel, who watched our son. Neelu, who I literally don’t know what we would have done — what I would have done if I — yeah.
And then I want to thank Joanne, my mother-in-law, who was incredible. She really was. I couldn’t have done it without her. We named our son Axl. Here’s a normal picture of Axl. There he is. We named him Axl, because it’s just a name we like. But I’m going to tell him it’s because firemen were there when he was born.
He’s like, ‘I don’t like it!’ It’s like, ‘You could have been hose!’ His middle name is Strawl, which is my mother-in-law Joanne, that’s her parent’s name. That’s her maiden name. And I never met my wife’s grandparents, but I’ve heard so much about them. And they were — they were holocaust survivors, who met the day after they were liberated. They met in a hospital in Austria. And days like this, you really — you know when someone is born, you just have such an appreciation for everyone in your lineage who lived so that you could have this moment.
And so, we’re just so happy to give this name for people who obviously had to work so hard to do that. But, of course, mostly I just want to thank my wife, who, you know, obviously has to get an apartment closer to the hospital. But I mean, she’s so amazing. And I – you know, my kids – like, you know, I haven’t known them very long, but I can guarantee you I’m gonna – I’m gonna to love them unconditionally forever. But as far – when I – just the speed in which she took this guy and had him on her and I watched them. Like – that kid’s gonna be fine forever because of her. She’s really amazing. I’m getting choked up thinking about how brave I was.
But, you know, obviously I just want to thank my beautiful wife Alexi, who is twice now an incredible rock star with these incredible deliveries and stories. And thank you to everyone here for indulging me on this crazy story and welcome Axl Strawl Meyers to the world.