Oops … didn’t get to the delivery room in time … again

Babies are born in hospital delivery rooms all day, every day and no one thinks twice about it. Give birth to a baby anywhere else in the hospital, even the emergency room, and pandemonium occurs. Staff members appear from all parts of the hospital … to watch. You’d think these doctors and nurses had never seen a birth before, they are so excited, calling encouragement and cheering. Of course it can be a bit embarrassing to notice, after the baby is born, that you have attracted a crowd of complete strangers who have become fixated on your fully exposed nether regions.

Such was the case of the mother who gave birth to her 5th child at the elevator bank on the labor floor. I was a medical student at the time, and we could hear the screaming as the elevator rose from the first floor and the doors opened. The orderly and the nurse managed to get the stretcher out of the elevator, but it was too late to go farther. The nurse delivered the baby on the threshold of the labor ward. Within moments a crowd that seemed to include a substantial portion of the hospital staff had gathered to watch.

The baby was healthy and vigorous, encouraging a festive atmosphere. Various staff members were admiring him and celebrating the opportunity to see a baby being born. At first we didn’t notice the mother’s distress.

“I’m so embarrassed,” she wept. She gestured to her legs splayed open and the pile of bloody sheets between them. “Everyone is looking at me.”

Actually, everyone was looking at the baby, but we understood her point. The crowd of observers began to break up and drift away, chatting happily about what they had just witnessed.

The nurse tried to comfort the mother.

“Don’t cry, honey,” she soothed. “You shouldn’t be embarrassed. This is nothing. Last year a woman gave birth to a baby on the hospital’s front lawn.”

Unexpectedly, this produced a further flood of tears.

The nurse was surprised, “What’s wrong, dear?”

It took a minute for the mother to calm down enough to tell us.

“That was me last time!”