The city was facing one of the fiercest storms that it had seen in nearly three years. And of course, Liz was now 38 weeks along in her pregnancy, but hadn't gone on maternity leave yet. Things had been smooth-sailing to this point: no problems with the progression of the pregnancy, no Braxton-Hicks contractions, no issues with their sex life: nothing had gone wrong. But of all the days that Liz could go into labor, it had to be this one: the day that promised at least a foot of snow, rolling blackouts across the city, and inevitable accidents that called for paramedic attention.
Liz had woken up with some weak pain in her lower back, but passed it off as just a twinge. A few hours at work, and the pain started getting a little more intense. She was still able to work, and the inordinate amount of walking and moving about she did in her day was helping with the pain. At lunch, she brought it up to Jack, who told her that he would call her doctor and told her to keep track of how far apart her contractions were. By the end of the day, they were getting more serious, but Liz was still able to walk and talk without issue. They were painful, but not excruciating.
The plan was to go directly from work to the hospital. Fortunately, Jonathan had Liz's bag on hand (they had put together a total of seven bags for the hospital. They had two bags at 30 Rock, one for his office, one for hers, in the case that they would have situations like this) and was going to meet them at the lobby to send them on their way.
Liz and Jack got on an elevator to go the hospital, and as soon as the doors closed and they started descending a few floors, the elevator stopped and the lights went out. "Are you okay?" Jack asked Liz as soon as they were certain that they weren't going to fall to their deaths at that exact moment.
"I'm fine. You?"
"Same. Let me see if I can figure out where we are so we can get out."
"Okay," Liz said before they both fell silent for a few minutes.
A few minutes later: "Jack."
"Liz, I'm trying to figure out how to get us out of here," he replied.
"My water just broke."
"Oh. That… well… that puts us in a very interesting situation."
"What is happening?"
"We're stuck in an elevator. No power, but I'm not sure why we're not falling to our deaths."
"Let's not think about that right now."
"What happens if she is born before we get out of here?"
"You're thinking? I thought you took child-birthing classes for situations like this," Liz asked, her voice hinting at a hysterical outburst.
"I only got through one class before I decided that it wasn't for me."
"What happened to you being prepared?"
"I am prepared. I am prepared to pay the best doctors in New York City to deliver our daughter."
"And are any of those doctors on the elevator with us?" Liz asked, her voice returning to normal.
"You wouldn't have had the chance to watch those videos your doctor gave you, would you?"
"I watched every single one."
"I fast-forwarded through the actual delivery scenes. Too gory for me."
"That doesn't help us."
"Can you call someone to come help us?"
"Liz, we may not be able to get out of here by the time she gets here."
"Can you Google how to deliver a baby on your phone?"
Jack pulled out his phone and ran a search for this pertinent topic. "Okay, it says we need towels, a bulb suctioning syringe, warm water, and scissors…"
"Does it say how to get a hold of any of those things while in an elevator?" Liz asked as she braced herself against the wall and eased herself down into a seated position.
From the glow of his phone, Jack could see that Liz was grimacing. "Are the contractions getting stronger?" he asked her.
She nodded and let out a long breath. "The cushion that the amniotic fluid was maintaining is now gone…"
Jack stared at her. "Yeah, I read the books. Did you?" she asked when she saw Jack's confused expression.
"I will look for the Cliff Notes version on my phone…" he muttered before turning his attention back to looking at the web results.
Liz checked her email and kept time of the contractions as Jack pored through the article he had found. Liz sent off emails to her parents and to Colleen to tell them that their granddaughter would be arriving within the next twenty-four hours and that they would call them as soon as possible.
Eventually, Liz's contractions took over, and she busied herself at getting herself into position. "Jack," she said out into the dark elevator.
"Yeah?" he replied.
"Can you help me with my pants?"
"Yeah… I mean, I saw that show in which that lady who didn't know she was pregnant had her baby in a pair of sweatpants, but I'd like this to be a little more dignified than that. Please help me get these things off."
Jack put his phone into his pocket and untied Liz's shoes, sliding them off and setting them aside. He left her socks on because the elevator was getting a little chilly. After a little fumbling and Liz's resulting observation of the apparent loss in Jack's ability to get a woman out of her pants, Liz's pants and underwear were discarded with the shoes.
Another hour and a half passed and Jack tried calling a few people who might be able to help them. They all seemed to be busy. Jack tried 911; told them about their situation, to which, the operator informed Jack that authorities were aware of the situation at 30 Rock and that help would be sent as soon as possible. Jack hung up the phone and turned his attentions back to where he presumed his wife was. "It looks like we're on our own," he informed her.
"Well, at least we'll have a good story to tell people," Liz sighed before another contraction hit her.
Eventually, after another forty-five minutes, Liz felt the urge to push. "Are you sure? I mean, you might feel the urge to push, but you shouldn't unless you are ready to go," Jack told Liz, using what knowledge he was able to glean from his cell phone.
"I know what you mean, but this is definitely an urge to push… I'm letting my body tell me what needs to happen… I guess letting nature do its thing has worked for people, so I'm going to go that route. Jack… I'm scared."
"It's okay. I'll be with you, and you can squeeze every drop of fluid out of my hand and I'll still love you. Just pay attention to me, and we'll get through this… with the help of Google on my phone. Remind me to send someone a bouquet of flowers when we're done here, okay?"
Liz started to push, and was discouraged quite easily when the baby didn't come flying out after five minutes of pushing. "Hollywood has been lying to me," she grumbled as she recovered from a contraction/push combination.
"You shouldn't have fast-forwarded through the delivery scenes," Jack reminded her.
Another ten minutes passed, and then the pain started to really kick up. Liz had thought that the pain had been awful before, but she found herself correcting herself. Jack, however, wasn't taking well to his new role. He was trying to rally Liz, but he wasn't doing so well. "Why aren't you being like you were in my dream?" Liz whined/moaned mournfully as she lollygagged through another contraction.
"Because it was a dream, you were in a hospital, Tracy was your doctor, and you gave birth to Meat Cat. This is reality, you're in an elevator, I'm not a doctor, and you're giving birth to what I sincerely hope isn't Meat Cat."
"Did you ever think this day would come?" Liz asked, quoting her dream.
"You're supposed to say: 'Lizzie, I never thought this day would come!' No just doesn't suffice."
"Lizzie, I never thought this day would come!" Jack replied in a mocking voice.
"If you're going to be a jerk about it…" Liz muttered.
She went through another two contractions before she spoke again. "Were you like this with Avery? Shaky and uncollected?"
"There were doctors who dealt with her delivery. I have to deliver the baby myself… cut me some slack here."
"I'm sorry, but it seems like you're not being very supportive."
"Liz, I'm trying to make sure you and the baby stay safe. I'm sorry if that comes off as me not being supportive."
Liz didn't reply, but instead, groaned as another wave of contractions took her.
Five minutes later (after Jack had quickly checked the website on his phone again to verify that he was doing what he needed to be doing while Liz had begun crying in response to the pain): "You're terrible at this," Liz gasped as she struggled through another push.
"I'm sorry, but I wasn't asked to do this with Avery," Jack told Liz defensively as he pressed a button on his phone so the light would come on again and he could see.
"Yeah… what the hell did you do with Avery? I bet you were better with the delivery of a baby that wasn't even… YOURS!" Liz spat out as she pressed her legs back against Jack's shoulders.
"I was fine when it was a normal delivery. I got Avery to a hospital and I did everything I could to make sure the baby was born fine. I tried to do the same for you… it just didn't have the same results."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah… too bad you couldn't have let me take my maternity leave a little earlier…"
"I said you could!" Jack said as he mentally counted from ten to one. "Can you feel anything different?"
"It hurts like nothing I could ever possibly describe to you," Liz growled.
"Believe me… I've been here for the last three hours. I know that it hurts like nothing you could ever possibly describe to you. But do you feel anything different, like she's positioned differently?"
"Jack, I have no idea!"
Liz's phone rang. "Yours," Jack told her.
"Oh yes, let me answer it… I'll just scream at whoever is calling!"
Jack leaned over and picked it up. "Hello, you've just reached the phone of Elizabeth Lemon. She is unable to take your call right now, but if you leave a message-"
"Jack, why the hell did I EVER LET YOU NEAR ME?" Liz screamed as she felt herself being taken deeper into the crevasse of childbirth.
"Jack? Is that Liz?" a woman asked on the other end. "It's Jenna. They have a crew coming to get you guys. You're on the elevator near the stage, right?"
"Yes, and yes. Please hurry…" Jack pleaded.
"Is that Jenna?" Liz asked, panting.
"Yes. It's Jenna."
Liz ripped the phone away from Jack. "Jenna… I'm having the baby and it hurts. My husband is a terrible birthing coach, and isn't helping…"
Jenna kicked into action. "Okay, Liz, remember this: you are having a baby girl…"
"Put her on speaker," Jack told Liz.
Liz placed the phone on her belly and Jack grabbed it. He fiddled with the touch-screen and set the phone on the ground next to Liz. "Jenna, you're on speaker. It's going to get loud."
"How long has she been in labor?" Jenna asked Jack.
"She's been having contractions all day… push Liz… and she's been… yeah… three, two, one… okay, stop pushing… and her water broke after the power went out. Why aren't the generators on?"
"Three of the generators failed and the only one that's on is the one that gives power to the 40th floor and above. But they have crews coming for you… I guess you'll need paramedics, right?"
Liz's guttural scream was the reply Jenna received. "Okay, Liz, you're doing great! Just think, by the time you can have your next meal, you will have a little girl in your arms! You've wanted to be a mother for so long, and now, here you are… about to become a mommy to a beautiful little girl who looked really weird on that 3-D image thing you showed me, but weird in a cute way, of course… you're doing great! Keep going!" Jenna called out, happy that she was able to take part in the delivery of her best friend's daughter.
Liz was sobbing, her entire body seething in pain unlike anything she could have imagined. She wished she'd actually watched all of those deliveries, like her doctor had suggested, but she didn't know how that would have helped her. Her Lamaze breathing techniques didn't seem to be helping her much, and she felt like she was going to pass out. She loved Jack more than ever at this exact moment, as she dug her heels into his broad shoulders once again, putting her energy into this natural process that should have hindered procreation, not promoted it.
Jack was breathing hard as he braced himself against Liz's legs. He knew he'd be sore for a while, not nearly as long as Liz, but for about a week or so. He knew that he'd be crying when the baby was born, when he finally got to see this little girl he'd wrapped his entire world around the second he found out that she was on her way.
In fact, within thirty seconds of finding out Liz was pregnant, he had his unborn child's life planned out. His child would go to that school that he and Avery had discussed sending Lydie, before it was discovered that Lydie wasn't Jack's daughter; his child would go to Princeton or Stanford; his child would go on and become president, because there was no way in hell he would make the mistake of going to Canada at any point during Liz's pregnancy; and he would love his child, love the inevitably funny and charming child that would come of the most important relationship of his life.
But, if within those first thirty seconds of finding out Liz was pregnant, within that first New York minute of knowing, if he had known that they would be in this predicament, he would have hired Liz's doctor to follow her wherever she went. At least now, they wouldn't be ruining the elevator they were in while they attempted to deliver their first (and at this rate, only) child by light of a Blackberry and iPhone.
Jenna kept cheering Liz on; Liz kept lumbering through her labor; and Jack kept Liz on a constant cycle of "One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten… stop, take a breath… and one, two, three…."
Thirty minutes later, Jack cried out: "There's a head… there's definitely a head there… she's got a head, Liz, she's got a head!"
"Go Liz, go!" Jenna called from the phone, with several other voices chiming in.
Jenna had inadvertently collected a cheerleading squad for Liz, composing of Tracy, Kenneth, Pete, most of the writers (Sue had been sick that day and stayed home), Grizz, and DotCom. The phone was on speaker, and they all huddled around Kenneth's desk, staring down at the phone and listening to Liz's marathon. This was probably the most exciting thing that had happened to them since Tracy had invited everyone to his house out in the Hamptons that one weekend. (Ironically enough, it was highly unlikely that anyone around that table knew that that weekend was actually where Jack and Liz's situation in the elevator began.)
Ten minutes of cheering, screaming, and Jack's calm, clear voice later, Jack placed his hand on Liz's leg and patted it. "Okay, Lemon, we mean business now… she's almost out. One last big push, and that should do it. Can you do that?" he asked Liz.
Jenna looked around the table at everyone. "He hasn't called her Lemon since they got married," she whispered. "He means business."
Liz blinked at Jack. "You mean, it's almost done?" she murmured through her sobs.
He nodded. "You're doing fantastic. One last push, and she'll be here, and hopefully those crews will be here to get us out of this place."
Liz inhaled. "Okay. Let's do it."
"Well, we already did it. Several times in… well… you know…"
Liz snorted with laughter and sniffled. "Okay guys… are you ready for this?" she asked the cheerleading squad through her heavy breathing.
Various shouts came back to Jack and Liz. Taking her cue from their friends, coworkers, and employees, Liz locked eyes with Jack and within thirty seconds, their daughter slid out into Jack's waiting arms. It was silent for a few seconds, and from Jenna's end of the line, everyone held their breaths. "Is everyone okay in there?" Jenna asked hesitantly.
A sharp, little cry was their answer. A few louder, deeper voices started coming from the other end. These voices were of the paramedics helping Jack, Liz, and the baby out of the elevator. Jack picked up the phone. "We're fine guys… we'll see you in a few minutes. They're going to help Liz and the baby and then we'll be there." He hung up the phone and left the cheerleading squad to celebrate.
The paramedics had lights that rivaled Jack and Liz's phones. Jack smiled as he grabbed Liz's hand and walked with the gurney that Liz and the baby were on. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" Jack asked jokingly as one of the paramedics offered Jack a pair of scissors to cut the cord.
Liz sighed and glanced down at the baby that had been placed on her chest. A medic put a blanket over the two of them, and took Liz's vitals. "Sorry I yelled at you," she murmured as she moved a hand to steady the baby on her chest, who was now nearing sleep.
"It's not the first time, and it certainly won't be the last time."
The medics did a few more checks before leaving the new little family by themselves for a few minutes before everyone else found them and ruined the quiet. "She might need a name too," Jack said after it looked like Liz was about to succumb to the exhaustion.
"Snowstorm Elevator Floor Donaghy," Liz murmured as her eyes closed.
"Well, as catchy as that sounds, how about something a little more traditional?"
"Something that doesn't make her sound like a seventy-year-old librarian from Milwaukee."
"I don't know Jack… I'm exhausted… you were the one who shot down all the names I suggested, so why don't you come up with something?"
"Okay," he replied before he thought for a moment. "I always liked Greek goddesses."
"Oh no… please don't name our daughter after some obscure Greek goddess…"
"So, that rules out Mnemosyne?"
"What?" Liz asked, opening her eyes slightly. "Was that even a coherent sound?"
"Mnemosyne was the goddess of the personification of memory. I was kidding about that name, by the way."
Liz sighed as she gazed down at the little girl who was now nestled in the cleavage of the breasts that Jack had habitually revered publically since she became pregnant. "Looks like she's going to have my hair," Liz remarked.
Jack nodded. "She'll probably have your eyes too. The gene for brown eyes is dominant over the gene for blue eyes, and since your eyes are so dark, it's likely you carry a strong gene."
"I don't even know half of what you just said. And it's not that I don't know what you're talking about… I'm… so tired. Can you take her? I'm afraid I'll drop her if I fall asleep," Liz murmured.
Jack grabbed a blanket that one of the medics had left on the foot of the bed. He spread it out over the bed, and then made a series of delicate maneuvers that resulted in the baby being wrapped up and cradled in Jack's arms. "How about Athena?" he asked Liz before her eyes slipped closed in slumber.
"Sure," Liz sighed before she fell asleep.
Jack smiled down at his little daughter, his little Athena, and walked away from the bed, only a few feet, and began the first of his many long speeches about how to be the best at anything and everything she ever did. After all, she was a Donaghy, and she had been born in an elevator in the building of Jack's beloved company.
She was destined to do great things.