You’ve read all the books, made a birthing playlist, packed your coziest robe in your hospital bag and placed it strategically by the door. After nearly nine months, you’re so ready for this. But what happens when things don’t go exactly according to plan? From planes and trains to automobiles and everything in between, these unbelievable birth stories prove that no matter how much you prepare, labor can still be full of surprises.
Shortly after takeoff, a woman gave birth on a flight from San Francisco to Phoenix. Luckily there was both a doctor and a nurse on the Southwest Airlines flight who assisted the mother through delivery. Fellow passengers had no idea what was happening until the pilot made the surprise announcement and diverted the plane to LAX. “It was amazing,” a flight attendant said. “All the passengers were awesome. Everybody was clapping.” Paramedics arrived at the scene and took mom and baby to the hospital. No word yet on whether or not they’ll take a cue from Kim and Kanye and name the baby South West.
When word of a woman in labor in a Philadelphia subway station spread on Christmas Day, two transit officers rushed to the scene. It all started when a passenger heard a woman cry out that her water had just broken. Other passengers rallied to her side, calling 911 and trying to help her relax. The two officers arrived in time to guide the baby out—even unwrapping the umbilical cord from around baby’s neck. The proud dad bundled the baby in his sweater while they waited for the paramedics to arrive. Both mom and baby were taken to a nearby hospital and are doing well. “We delivered a baby for her, so it’s like her Christmas present,” Sgt. Daniel Caban said. “But it’s also like a blessing and present for myself.” Guess Santa isn’t the only one making special deliveries on Christmas.
Second Time’s the Charm?
We know that a car ride can help lull baby to sleep—but can it also induce labor? In an extremely rare repeat, Christy Henry gave birth in her car for the second time. Yep, you read that right. After two trips to the hospital that ended up being false alarms, when the real moment came, it came quickly. The couple tried to avoid another car delivery but didn’t make it very far before baby arrived. Henry joked, “Maybe they’re all going to be NASCAR drivers when they get bigger.” A piece of advice: Always keep the car stocked with emergency supplies and a full tank of gas!
Rush Hour Delivery
We’re pretty sure New York City cab drivers have seen it all, but this surprised even the most seasoned New Yorker. The drama began when Sarah Steinhaus’s water broke in her apartment. Her husband, who wasn’t home, called his brother Michael, a fourth-year medical student, to take her to the hospital in a cab. And it’s a good thing he was there! The cab got stuck in rush hour traffic more than 50 blocks from the hospital. Michael asked the driver to pull over so he could check on her progress and was shocked to see the baby’s head starting to crown. Baby was born just minutes later and paramedics arrived shortly after to take mom and baby to the closest hospital.
High Tech Birth
This New Jersey mom showed up to her doctor’s office for a routine visit, but things took a dramatic turn after her water unexpectedly broke. The good news: She was at a doctor’s office. The bad news: Her ob-gyn was at the hospital finishing a surgery. Since baby couldn’t wait any longer, the doctor coached the medical assistants through the delivery via FaceTime. “Everything happened so fast,” the new mom said. “I think we got there at 11:30—and he was out by 11:50.” Talk about the birth of modern technology (okay, we couldn’t resist).
All in the Family
And the award for “world’s best big sis” goes to Jazmine McEnaney, an eight-year-old who recently helped her mom deliver her baby brother at home. Jazmine was home alone with her pregnant mom when she went into labor two weeks earlier than expected. “My mom is pregnant and her water just broke,” she told the 911 operator. While still on the phone with 911, little baby Joseph started to emerge. The operators coached the brave girl through it—and just 13 minutes later the baby was born. “She definitely stayed calm when she needed to. I was hysterical,” the proud mom said of her daughter.
Guinness Book Contender
Talk about a personal best! Not only did this woman deliver her fifth child in two minutes flat, she also has a history of speedy deliveries. (Her longest took just two hours! Yeah, we’re pretty jealous too.) Mary Gorgens got up to use the bathroom early in the morning when she felt a “slight twinge.” As she walked back into her bedroom she felt baby’s head starting to emerge. She woke her husband and two minutes later their son arrived. Curious about the other four? Here’s a quick rundown: She gave birth to her first child in just under two hours, making it to the hospital with only 12 minutes to spare; her second and third were both born in the car in 90 minutes and 50 minutes, respectively; and her fourth took just 10 minutes and was born on the bedroom floor. “Even though we weren’t in hospital, at the end of the day [the births] went smoothly and they were all healthy. It’s amazing what your body can do,” Gorgens said. Makes you wonder if potential baby number six could possibly beat the record.