Jennifer Delorenziz put the horror of her escape from the
collapsing World Trade Center behind her when she gave birth...on
September 11. Dublin-born Jennifer went into labour as thousands
gathered on the first anniversary of the terror attacks to pay
tribute to those who died.
Jennifer, who survived after fleeing her crumbling office in
the building linking the Twin Towers just in time, planned to
spend the day watching the memorial service on TV. But instead she
became mum to Jessica Carolyn, a healthy 6lb 5oz, in a New York
Jennifer, 32, says: “I wasn’t due to give birth until
September 22 and I never thought my baby would be born on
September 11, of all days. “My maternity leave hadn’t even
started. I was supposed to be at work but our new offices overlook
Ground Zero so my doctor advised me to stay away because the area
would be too crowded for a heavily pregnant woman.
“I had planned to stay at home, relax and watch the memorial
service on TV but I started having contractions. At first I thought, ‘This can’t be happening — not on
September 11.’ But the baby was determined to be born on that date.
“I was rushed into hospital and by 6pm I was cradling Jessica
in my arms. The staff were crying when I told them my story — no
one could believe it."
Jennifer & Jessica
John & Jennifer married in Ireland
Jennifer left Dublin for the US in 1991 and got a job as a PA
for financial company Refco, on the 22nd floor of the Green
Building beneath the World Trade Center towers. She met
electrician John Delorenziz and they married in Ireland in April
She was back at work on September 11 a year ago when the first
plane hit — and the impact rocked her building. She says: “I
rushed to the window and a burning body fell inches from my face.
I was terrified. Flaming jet fuel covered the sides of the building and
debris and more bodies were raining down outside. People were
jumping from the top floors and you could see them falling — it
“When the second jet hit we were told to evacuate. The
explosion broke all the lifts so we had to fight our way down 22
flights of stairs, pushing through the choking dust. People were
so terrified that they were silent. All anyone could think about
was getting out. When we reached ground level, we were told to meet in
Liberty Street, by the towers. But instinct told me to get further
away and I ran uptown. Thousands of hysterical people were
streaming through the streets and I was picked up by the human
tide and pulled along.
“I had just started running when I heard a huge roar and
looked up to see the first tower collapse. If I had been standing
on Liberty Street I would have been dead.”
After the second tower crumbled, Jennifer walked 14 miles to
her home, covered in dust and debris. She was found by a Red Cross
worker who contacted her desperately worried family.
She and John had previously talked about starting a family but
after Jennifer’s amazing escape they decided not to wait. John,
33, was shocked when Jessica was born on the anniversary of the
nightmare but Jennifer says: “I knew it was a sign from God that
he is looking after me — and my baby.
“I was in tears that she’d chosen this date to be born.
Jessica’s birth has given us hope for the future that something
wonderful could be born from something tragic.”
The birth was also a surprise to Jennifer’s family back in
Ireland, who were reliving memories of their agonising 11-hour
wait last year to find out if she was alive.
Her sister Amanda, 31, also a PA, from Dublin, recalls: “I
was at work on September 11 last year and when the first plane hit
one of the towers we all presumed it was just an accident. When the second jet hit, I was terrified. I realised it was
a deliberate attack and my sister was caught in the middle of it.
“I rushed home to find Mum and Dad watching TV in tears. When
the towers collapsed I was hysterical. We didn’t know if she was
alive or dead and I was sure she was buried under tons of rubble. Our relatives were ringing every few minutes but we told
them to get off the phone and keep the line clear in case Jennifer
was trying to call us.”
The family tried to contact Jennifer but all telephone lines to
New York were down. Back in America, John was frantically calling her mobile but
the networks were jammed. He set off to the rescue centre at New
York’s Yankee stadium but could not find his wife and began to
fear the worst.
But at 9pm her family got a call saying Jennifer had been found
alive. Amanda says: “When the Red Cross rang to say she was
safe, it was like winning the lottery. We were screaming and crying and hugging each other. But we
still couldn’t quite believe it and we were worried in case
there had been a mix-up and maybe she wasn’t OK after all.”
At 11pm Jennifer finally managed to phone her family. Amanda
says: “When I heard her voice, I broke down. I was sobbing my
heart out. September 11 changed all our lives — but for the better.
Before we used to speak once a month, now we talk every week and
e-mail almost every day.
“We were thrilled when we found out she was expecting a few
months later but it never crossed our minds that the baby would be
born on September 11. When Jennifer went into labour we knew it was a wonderful
sign that life goes on and there is hope.”
Now the family are planning a trip to New York for Jessica’s
Amanda says: “It will be the first time we have all been
together since Jennifer and John’s wedding. We feel blessed that Jennifer got out alive — and we are
doubly lucky to have little Jessica.
“I know many people will remember September 11 as a day of
mourning but we are happy we can remember it as something to
celebrate. It brings a little bit of light back into the world.”
|Jennifer hails from Dublin originally and is the
daughter of James Joseph Kavanagh and Therese Smyth. She
has three sisters - Amanda, Olivia and Suzanne.
Copyright © Jane Barnes & The Sun Newspaper