Well, I’m a week away from my due date, and it doesn’t look like our bundle of joy is going anywhere anytime soon. But that hasn’t stopped me from having horrifying visions of getting stuck on an elevator and going into labor or being otherwise unable to make it to the hospital 10 minutes away from our house. Maybe it was a bad idea to research these unexpected places to give birth…
1. In a subway station. I can’t think of a less sanitary place to give birth, can you? In 2008, Francine Alfontent and her husband were at the East Broadway stop headed to the hospital when the baby decided it was done cooking. The mother gave birth among a circle of New Yorkers who donated clothing, helped time contractions and gave up a cheer when the baby came out healthy.
2. In an airplane. This was one of those, “Is there a doctor on the plane?” situations, and thankfully, there was. A doctor and two nurses, to be exact. In December 2009, a woman about a month out from her due date gave birth on a Southwest flight from Chicago Midway to Salt Lake City. When the baby was born, it was announced it to the 122 other curious passengers on board: “We now have a new passenger,” the pilot said over the intercom before making an emergency landing in Denver.
3. In a mechanic’s shop. This one just happened! Earlier this month in Cambridge, Mass., a woman went to an instant oil-change Valvoline shop to check some routine car maintenance off of her to-do list before the baby came. Instead, she ended up giving birth in the backseat of her SUV. Police and paramedics were called to the scene where the baby had already made its debut. It wasn’t breathing. Policeman Steve Allen hit the baby on the back twice and cleared its mouth of blockage, which cleared things right up. Everyone is reported to be doing well now. I don’t know about you, but I’m thinking free oil changes for life.
4. In a Port-O-Potty. What is it about Cambridge? In the same town as the Valvoline baby but nearly a year earlier, a 44-year-old woman retreated to a Port-O-Potty to have her baby… and then dropped the newborn little girl in the tank and left to smoke a cigarette. When someone else approached the toilet, the new mother told them to stay out because she had just given birth. When the man called 911, she retrieved the baby from the toilet. She was charged with first and second degree child abuse and reckless endangerment and later told officials that she didn’t know she was pregnant. The baby survived and social services took custody of her when she was allowed to leave the hospital.
5. In a tree. In 2000, about a million people in Mozambique were forced from their homes when floodwaters ravaged the country. Or make that a million and one. A Sophia Pedro lived in a treetop for four days, waiting for her rescue and hoping that it would come before her baby did. Rescue did come, but it was moments too late – just minutes after the woman gave birth in the treetop, medics descended from a helicopter to retrieve them and cut the umbilical cord. Sophia and her daughter both recovered just fine.
6. At Sesame Place. But she wasn’t exactly surrounded by Elmo and Big Bird. A woman from Manhattan was visiting the Sesame Street-themed park in 2008 and had only been there for about 20 minutes when her water broke. “It happened so fast. I didn’t have pain, just shock,” Takia Mann said. Sesame Place gave Mann and her family (she was there with her other two children) season passes and sent Elmo and Abby Cadabby to visit the newest little Mann at the hospital.
7. In a rickshaw. A Pakistani woman got caught in a traffic jam in February when President Asif Ali Zardari’s motorcade went through Quetta. The woman’s brother hired a rickshaw to get her to the hospital and pleaded with police to let them pass because his sister was due to give birth at any second. They declined the request, and the baby was born in the rickshaw.
8. At ESPN Zone. A 24-year-old woman was visiting the ESPN Zone at Downtown Disney in Anaheim in 2005 when she had the sudden urge to go to the bathroom. Bad. Turned out it wasn’t bad chicken wings – she was in labor and gave birth in the second-floor bathroom at the eatery.
9. At Wal-Mart. It sounds like a MacGyver episode, but when a woman went into labor at a Lake City, Florida, Wal-Mart, employees sprang into action and used items from the store to assist her. And you can watch! Don’t worry, it’s not graphic – it’s interviews with the employees who were there coupled with some grainy security footage.
10. At the post office. Maybe it’s not just Cambridge, Mass. – a woman in Cambridgeshire, England, gave birth to a baby girl named Dulce last year when she stopped at the post office to get more minutes on her cell phone. The baby was weighed on a postal scale where she topped out at 5 pounds, 15 ounces. “We worked out that’s the equivalent of an £8.22 first class parcel,” postmaster Paul Childs said.
OK – hit me with your most horrifying tale. Did your sister give birth in a taxi? Do you know someone from your hometown who went into labor while standing in line at McDonald’s? Let’s see who has the best story, and I will do my best to have the most boring, unimaginative birth story ever.
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