Anna Volino and her husband were closely monitoring Hurricane Sandy on Monday — and Anna's restless womb.
She kept a regular appointment with her doctor early in the day before the storm struck and knew it was only a matter of days or hours before her baby would be ready to enter the world. That was exciting, but with reports warning of Sandy's power, Anna, who was planning to deliver at a hospital about 30 miles from her Kunkletown home, was concerned.
She wanted to check into the hospital before Sandy struck, but doctors told her that unless she was in active labor, she was not ready to be admitted.
In the afternoon, she called doctors again. She was dilating, but not quite in active labor. Keep waiting, she was told.
Normally, she said, she'd go to her doctors at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest via the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but there was her 2-year-old son, Jayden, to think about. So Anna drove Jayden to her in-laws' home in Saylorsburg, near Route 33. There, she linked up with her husband, Justin.
They ate dinner, she said, and then the excitement really began. Her water broke, and the contractions started coming fast and furious.
"Out of nowhere, they became two minutes apart," she said.
This was a surprise, because Anna's labor with Jayden was a lengthy affair. "The whole time … in my head, I'm thinking it's the beginning of labor," she said. "But it was the end of labor."
The couple dashed to their car and headed south on Route 33. Justin Volino said he wanted to fly down the highway, but weather conditions prevented him from violating the speed limit.
"The speed limit was about all I could do because of the weather," he said. "It was blowing the car all over the place."
Halfway down Route 33, Anna started getting the urge to push.
Justin "freaked out" — they both agree on that — but he kept his composure well enough to call 911 on his mobile phone. A dispatcher quickly understood that Anna never would make it to Lehigh Valley Hospital, which was 20-30 minutes away. The dispatcher directed them to St. Luke's Hospital-Anderson Campus, near the southern end of Route 33 in Bethlehem Township.
The only issue for the Volinos: The Anderson hospital doesn't have an obstetrics unit.
No matter, the hospital staff had already prepared for the unusual events that a storm like Sandy can cause. Extra staff was on hand and preparations were in place for many contingencies, St. Luke's officials said.
Justin wheeled the car to the emergency entrance and Anna was ushered in. With two pushes and the help of emergency room Dr. Jason Rubino and staff, Anna at 8:39 p.m. delivered 9-pound, 2-ounce Jordan James Volino during the height of Sandy's wrath in the Lehigh Valley.
Anna said she was grateful for all the help bringing Jordan into the world.
"I would have pushed him out in the car if we hadn't found that hospital," she said.
Mother and baby are well and were discharged from St. Luke's on Wednesday.
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