Posted by: silverstar98121 | October 5, 2008

Oh, Baby, Baby

I’ve had the honor in my nursing career, to deliver several babies that decided to come before the doctor got there. Some were terrifying, some were sad, (stillbirths), and some were just what you’d want. I think the most exciting one was the baby that was born on my couch at home.

One night I was at home, and some of my old neighbors came and knocked on the door. They wanted Barney to help because their daughter-in-law was about to deliver. I knew that Barney would be worse than useless in this situation, so I took it upon myself to see how far along the mother was in labor. But of course, they had an old shitmobile, and the overhead light wouldn’t turn on. So, we helped the mother into my house, and onto the couch.

I had just about enough time to get Barney on the police radio when she started to deliver. So I gave him the message 10-33, which stands for emergency. I barely had gotten the baby out when Barney came running in the door with one of the auxiliary police men.

They knew there was an emergency, but I hadn’t had time to tell them what it was. They were ready for anything from me being held hostage, to who knows what. But I don’t think they expected to find me delivering a baby.

Of course, cheap-o Windy Point, they of the bald tires on the police car, didn’t have an OB kit in the police car, in spite of the fact that this wasn’t the first time we’d needed one. And we didn’t have an ambulance in town at the time, the nearest one was 20 miles away. So I had to improvise. I yelled at Barney to get me some clean towels as he came in the door. I got the baby wrapped up, and she cried a bit, then just took to looking around. I found something to tie the cord off with, and then cut it. (I’d made the mistake of cutting the cord before clamping it in the past, but that’s another story.)

And then we called for the ambulance and waited. And waited. The mother held the baby, and asked me if she was all right. She had been told the baby was small on ultrasound. And it was small, it weighed about 5 lbs, but it was perfect and pink, so no worries. Hell, it weighed more than I did when I was born. (Yes, I was a 4½ lb. baby. I’ve more than made up for that low start.)

So off Mom went in the ambulance, with grandma, while the uncle drove the car behind them. And then I got to clean up the couch. Fortunately, it was easy to clean, as I’d found out when a different member of this family had made an ungodly mess on it. But that’s another story for another day, isn’t it?


  1. That sounds amazing. The only birth I’ve ever attended was this one.

  2. Wow! The only thing ever birthed on my couch was a recycled bottle of vodka…. um… i lost that couch in the move!

  3. it was tough enough for me to be at the birth of my two kids when there were tons of docs and nurses around… but i persevered and was glad to be there. i cannot remotely imagine doing it on your own as you did. my hat (if i had one on) is off to you.

  4. Azahar- I’ve been around for the births of puppies and kittens, as well as the occasional human. Wonderful, ain’t it?

    Daisy Fae- IIRC, you’ve personally birthed two humans. And raised them to be fairly decent young adults. I think that counts far more than the occasional couch delivery.

    Gnu- Pssst! Here’s a secret. Women have given birth for millenia, nay, eons, with only another woman or two to help. You don’t want to get me started on the medicalization of the birth process. But congrats on raising them to be big people. Much harder work.

  5. Cool story.

    I was present in the case room when eldest D was born. I was never allowed to forget that my description of the “business end” of the bed/stretcher/whatever looked like “someone had been cleaning fish there”. At one point I got a bit nauseated and, after the birth, I went over to have a look at the babe and nearly slipped on whatever liquid was on the floor and nearly took a header. Still, I’ll never forget leaning over and seeing the baby start to wail when she was only about half-way “out”.

    Second D was an emergency “C” section. I was out of town working, but was driven back (about 3 hours) to see wife and baby. A bottle of whiskey somehow got consumed during that drive and I was a bit unsteady when I showed up in the maternity ward at 3:30 am, wearing crude oil stained clothes and a shit-eating grin. The nurses still let me hold the baby – all 4.1 lbs of her – through the little holes in the incubator.

    That’s about as close as I ever want to be to attending to the birthing of a baby on a couch.

  6. Great story and well told, too! I’ve always had a secret hankering to be at a birth but I don’t remember much of any of the four births I attended==one as baby and three as mom.

  7. my ex boss (when I worked in publishing so he definitely was not a medical person) attended a birth in the back seat of his car. his 27 year old daughter only told him she was pregnant when she went into labour – she had the sort of rotund body which didn’t really show and apparently no one suspected!

    her first baby and she was in labour for less than 45 minutes. he got the car as far as the hospital driveway and out popped the baby. then he came to work later in the day and all he could talk about was the mess in the back seat…..

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