Mason Modeste may not be able to understand much. But that’s not stopping his mother from telling him how he was born. It’s a story that he’ll have to get used to.
“I’m telling him the story now,” Tiffany Modeste said while laughing. “He’s going to know this story! His friends are gonna know this story! Girls who want to date him are gonna know this story!”
Tiffany expected to give birth to Mason Tuesday, just not as early or under the extreme circumstances that she did.
“My recent doctor’s visit didn’t indicate that I was going to be going into labor,” she said. “They thought they were going to induce me. Going into labor was far from my mind.”
She was with her husband Andre inside their Burlington Township, New Jersey, home around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday when she started having contractions.
“They actually started coming pretty consistently every 10 minutes during that hour,” she said.
Tiffany called her doctor at Capital Health Medical Center Hopewell in Pennington, New Jersey, to make sure everything was okay.
“The doctors said it sounded like I was in early labor so they figured I had time,” she said. “They figured I didn’t need to rush. Of course, they’re the professionals, so I didn’t rush.”
That quickly changed however when the contractions started coming at a faster pace.
“They went from 10 minutes to eight minutes to six minutes and then to the point where I just had no break in between the contractions as they were coming,” she said.
Tiffany and Andre left their 3-year-old son with their mother, who was at the house at the time, and rushed out the door. Even before stepping foot in their SUV, Tiffany knew the baby would arrive before they got to Capital Health.
“As we were leaving the house I told my mom I don’t think we’re gonna make it to the hospital,” she said. “As soon as we got into the car and we were pulling out I told my husband, ‘I think the baby is coming.’”
Andre first stopped at the Endeavor Emergency Squad, an emergency medical and rescue services center located only a few blocks away from their home. He quickly ran out and shouted for help.
“I’m banging on the door and I’m ringing the bell,” he said. “No one came out.”
Realizing that they had little time left, Andre went back in the SUV and drove to the nearest hospital, the Lourdes Medical Center of Burlington County. Even though Lourdes does not have a labor delivery unit, Andre knew it was their only option and drove there as quickly as he could.
“I’m running lights, I’m flying,” he said. “She’s in the back saying she thinks the baby is coming!”
The car ride only took a few minutes. Yet they may have been the most important minutes of Tiffany’s life.
“All I remember is hearing the roar of the engine while I was in labor,” she said. “And with each labor pain I got I had the urge to actually push. My body is pushing. I’m not trying to push but my body is doing it. It was natural. At one point I put my hand down and realized something was really happening. Then my husband pulled into the parking lot at Lourdes.”
Andre pulled up on a curve at the entrance of Lourdes, ran into the hospital and screamed for help.
“I’m like, right now I need as much help as I can get,” he said. “The doctors come out and the nurses come out with a wheelchair and gurneys.”
Yet Andre was in for a shock as he returned to his SUV less than a minute after running into the hospital. His wife was holding their newborn son.
“Baby,” Tiffany screamed. “I have the baby!”
Tiffany described the incredible moment.
“When he ran into the emergency room I had another pain,” she said. “And I pushed and my baby came out in my hand. He had his umbilical cord around the back of his neck so I just gently pulled that off and put him on my chest. I patted him and he started crying. He was breathing okay and I just waited two more seconds and saw my husband come out with the security guard and nurses."
Both Tiffany and Andre believe the birth was a miracle.
“It was an act of God,” Andre said. “I seriously believe God took over at that point.”
Tiffany was eventually transferred to Capital Health where she was Wednesday night with her newborn son Mason, who is a healthy seven pounds and six ounces and 20.5 inches long.
“My son is doing wonderful,” she said. “My oldest son is happy to be a big brother and people are just amazed. I’m just really grateful to everyone at Lourdes and Capital Health.”
It’s an experience that Tiffany will not only share with her son but also look back to whenever times get tough.
“I never thought I would be able to do it without assistance,” she said. “You really don’t know your own strength until it’s put to the test.”