Faith Under Fire: The Addison’s and the moment that made them known to the world

by: cathy foreman

It was a Saturday evening when I was scrolling through Facebook and came across a post of a man sharing “I’ve done ALOT of “things” in the front seat of my vehicles😇🤐…But delivering a baby while driving AND with 3 crying kids in the back seat🙆🏽‍♂️ Can I get an MVP or something!” @1:33 you see the water break and shoot all over my dashboard😐

Admittedly, it gave me pause, so I clicked on the video and watched a story unfold. What I would hear was a lot of screaming and crying, which in effect made me screech and slouch down in my chair. What I and so many others would come to understand was this was a video of a husband trying to keep his wife calm and a wife trying her level best to breathe through the pain of contractions, all while trying to keep calm for her kids. I can’t even begin to imagine what that experience was like; I barely remember my own experience, in the hospital, 27 years ago. Even with the video and watching it all unfold, it was still pretty hard to fathom. It was literally straight out of a tv show. As a matter of fact, it was reminiscent of a scene from Grey’s Anatomy, Season 13 Ep 11. That story didn’t end quite as happy as Michael and Rudia’s and even knowing what the end result was for them, I still found myself praying …“Please God, don’t let anything happen to this family before they reach the hospital” as if it were a live feed.

Husband and wife, Michael and Rudia Addison, started their day like any other normal day. With baby Jolee due on June 9th, they were in “let’s pack the hospital bag mode.” Little did they know the bag would have to wait. Rudia went to use the bathroom and noticed blood in the commode. When she called her husband to come see, he tells me “it really wasn’t a lot. It was such a small amount. Like maybe if you pricked your finger, but Rudia had been having braxton hicks contractions, so I wanted to take her to get checked out anyway.” They load the car and start heading to the doctor when all of sudden, Rudia feels that something isn’t right. She tells Michael, “I feel like I need to push” and that’s when things went from 0-100.

To anyone who has experienced childbirth, you understand the idea of seeing blood when you go to the bathroom as being a cause for concern. And that’s exactly what it was for Michael and Rudia. On Friday, July 13, 2018, the Addison’s experienced a miscarriage. At this point, they were living in Rochester, NY. Rudia, once again had gone to bathroom and found that she was bleeding. Michael sprang into action and rushed her to Rochester General. There, they were told to wait in the ER waiting room. While waiting, Rudia felt the urge to go to the bathroom once more, so Michael told her to go on, not thinking anything more of it. They tell me it was about five minutes later when Rudia resurfaced with the fetus in her hands, wrapped in paper towels. Yes, she had delivered the fetus while in the bathroom. It was then, that the ER staff jumped in to their aid and got them into a room. Michael says it was something like a horror story. With a Friday the 13th date, one can only imagine the thoughts running through Rudia’s mind. And Michael was well aware of the date and sensed his wife’s uneasiness and the feeling of being unlucky. What he told her was both reassuring and loving, “Don’t look at this as something unlucky, because it’s not. Look at it as, it simply wasn’t our time. It has to be when God’s ready.” A few short months later they would move to Las Vegas and became pregnant with Jolee.

Rudiah Addison delivers baby girl, Jolee Addison in the family car.
Rudiah Addison delivers baby girl, Jolee Addison in the family car.

With their other children in the back seat, Michael tells me of creating a “pre-delivery” video for each of them, but they had yet to do this for Jolee. So, with 2.1 miles to go, he passed his phone to his son, Jayden (11) and Michael can be heard saying “Hey Jolee! It’s your father; just want you to know you’re making a grand presence in my car …….”. By passing Jayden the phone, he was able to record the whole scene. He did a pretty good job too, capturing everything that was going on in those few moments. Good thing he was in the back seat, for the sake of PG viewing. From the video, we see Michael driving with one hand on the wheel and the other on Rudia’s thigh. Simultaneously, we see Rudia raising her legs and placing her feet on the dash lifting her buttocks from the car seat. Jayden pans to the back seat where he and his two sisters, Jai’ahni (8) and Jaida (4) are and the look on their precious little faces just solidifies the excitement and fear all rolled up into one. The baby girl Jaida, sitting with tears streaming down her face, while her sister Jai’ahni was just stunned by the whole encounter, almost catatonic-like. Next, we hear Rudia screeching in what can only be imagined as extreme pain. We can hear she’s trying to hold it together as to not frighten her children, but as she screams, the girls scream. And as I’m watching this, I’m gritting my teeth and sinking deeper into my chair. Rudia is yelling to Michael that she’s coming and the head is out. Michael is as cool as a cucumber – or so it seems. Then he tells her to grab the baby. “Hold her, hold her”. The next thing we see is Jolee’s head and then her full body tucked in the fetal position, in just the one hand of mom. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve seen a while. As Rudia pulls Jolee up to her breast we hear the cry and I think as viewers, we all took a sigh of relief. And then Michael loses it for just a moment as he bursts into a series of .. “Oh, Shit! Oh Shit! Oh, Shit!

Jolee's alert moments after birth
Jolee’s alert moments after birth

I would find out that Michael was scared to death, but he needed to be there for his family and get them all to the hospital safe and sound. He says it was nothing but faith and prayer. He knew with 100% faith that he would get there. He just tried to keep it together for everyone. He reiterates that it was nothing but prayer and instinct guiding him as he heard his children in the back seat screaming and afraid. He says, “I used their fear as my strength.” Michael simply could not afford to lose it. Rudia says she can’t hear her crying. Michael reassures her that everything is fine and that Jolee’s eyes are open and she’s beautiful. With a quivering voice, we hear Rudia say “okay.” For a split second, she takes a breath of relief and settles down … just a little.

Now that all has pretty much settled down, Rudia goes straight into mom mode, telling Michael to “roll the windows up”, while gently urging him to get there, but that he can slow down a bit because “she’s already here.” She further proves she’s superwoman by relaxing the kids telling them that their sister is here. “Look at your baby sister.” She’s a ball of emotions and literally an open wound, but she’s taking care of everyone else.

After all of this, I wanted to know more and so does the world. As evident by the number of calls and messages the Addison family is receiving. Already interviewed by the local stations 13 Action News and Fox 5, Telemundo and more, the Addison’s are thankful for all the attention this story of family, strength, and love have garnered. Rudia says that with all the things that “make people famous” she is surprised that their story is receiving so much attention. Michael says he’s hearing from people all over the world, from places like Ireland, Africa, Uruguay, Scotland and some places he never knew existed. Everyone has been supportive. He says, “of course there are some people that are negative, you get that with most anything these days, but for the most part, people have been truly supportive and congratulatory. “

Michael is a service provider in the car industry; he’s always worked in service and Rudia is a stay at home mom. Together for 12 years, married for three, the family of five, now six, have had their share of ups and downs. “The main thing is to stay true and to place your kids first”, says Michael. Just two weeks before this incredible event, Michael tells me he lost his job. Rudia had not had an easy pregnancy and was starting to experience problems with her placenta calcifying and that caused Michael to request to move from full-time to part-time for two weeks, at least until the baby was born and then come back to work in his previous full-time capacity. What he tells me next is unconscionable. Not only would his employer not consider his request, they told him he was either there or not and gave him a form to offer his resignation. Instead of arguing with them, like I’m sure many of us would have done, he signed the paper because, for him, his family came first. He would figure everything else out later, but for now he needed to be there with and for his family. He insists that “God works in mysterious ways.”

I’m sure Jolee will be completely embarrassed as she grows up and learns the story, becoming more associated with it. But, I am equally sure she will always be grateful to her mom and dad. Michael has established a Facebook Fundraiser Account to replace his car with a new minivan for his Rudia. If you would like to contribute, please do so.

Rudia and Jolee are both well and the family is moving right along with their routine. I asked Michael what Rudia had to say of the whole experience and he tells me that she doesn’t remember a thing. She was in blackout mode. He calls her a warrior. Rudia did say that this was perhaps the quickest birth, but also the most painful. She’s a caretaker by nature. “She is very very strong”, Michael says of his wife.

Over this short time, the interest in the Addison’s increased drastically with Michael receiving over 150k friend requests. Since the FB limit for friends is capped at 5k, Michael has created a separate page for the family. If this page is anything like his social media before this happened, we can get ready for another incredible ride.

I had a few more questions for Michael, before we ended our conversation.

NN: How are you handling this newfound celebrity.

Michael: It’s sometimes overwhelming, but we are getting refocused for something beautiful. It’s a blessing. The messages we are receiving from across the world are incredible.

If the measure of a man is his family, then by that standard Michael is a great one. He is using his new found celebrity to help out a friend who is in need of a kidney. He posted to his personal Facebook account and put out the call for a donor. Amazingly, there has been a response from a possible donor match; from one of his new followers. Michael says if this all works out, he will personally donate the money from his fundraiser to get the donor to New York to help. Can this story get any better? Probably not, but it can get more interesting.

NN: I saw that you posted a small video of Jolee suckling on your nipple. I know I’ve never seen that before and I’m pretty certain that most men would not have been courageous enough to post that. What made you do it and how did it feel?

Michael: I had just finished feeding her. Rudia and the kids were in the kitchen. When I finished, she was on my bare chest and she had tried a few times before to latch on, so this time I just said, what the hell. I thought it was cute and funny, so I recorded that little seven seconds. My wife and the kids were laughing, we all thought it was funny. I did get a call from my mother saying that I shouldn’t have put that on the web, but I’m like this is my family. We have nothing to be ashamed of and anyone who makes more out of it than what it was, is looking for it to be that way. I’m not going to live my life based on what people think is appropriate. Jolee must have thought it was a pacifier. It wasn’t inappropriate. As for as how it felt … it tickled.

In addition to his immediate family, Michael has his mom and dad, two brothers and one sister. Both sets of grandparents are living and have been married for 62 years each. They are a very close knit family and he is very proud of all them. They are all taking this new interest in them in stride. Michael’s younger brother, Jordan was just awarded Teacher of the Year in Rochester. His older brother, Jonathan has 20 years in the Airforce and his sister recently had her first child.

Rudia is not on social media and is quite shy, so she’s a bit more overwhelmed than Michael, but still appreciative for all the encouragement and support. Michael says that he usually just passes her the phone and lets her say what she needs to say, but for our call, Rudia was indisposed. I was able to catch up with Rudia a bit later and she is indeed shy. She was having a hard time even talking with me on the phone. So, don’t think for one moment that this article is one sided. Rudia offered what she wanted and is more than fine with how things are. I told her, “I bow down to you ma’am.”

Rudia and baby Jolee

NN: What do you want to say to the staff at Henderson Hospital?

Michael: I was so confused I couldn’t find the ER entrance so I ended up at the main entrance instead. When I ran in, no one was in the lobby, but then I saw this one cleaning lady; she spoke Spanish so I brought her to the car to show her that I needed help and she understood right away. It seemed that in a matter of seconds she came back with the whole ER staff. They delivered the placenta, right there in the car and took care of my wife. Everyone was amazing. They took really good care of all of us and for that I am grateful. I can’t thank them enough. The staff was just amazing.

Really, all I can say is wow. As I spoke with the family and learned more about them, I’m just in awe. They are wonderful people and so humbled and thankful. These are the stories that need to be told. These are the stories that replenish your faith in mankind. These are the stories that inspire.