It reads like a sitcom story line: Pregnant woman gets stuck somewhere because of some crazy circumstance, goes into labor and delivers her baby on her own. But for Abby Wellington, a 34-year-old pediatrician and second-year neonatal fellow from New Jersey, this was no TV episode.
Last Monday, while Hurricane Sandy took down power lines and home across the East Coast, Abby gave birth to her second child.
Around 9 p.m. on October 29, she and her husband Stephen Olefson were laying in bed and listening to the wind beat on their door. Their house had lost power and had little running water. All of a sudden Abby felt some stomach pains, and the pain returned five-minutes later. At Stephen's suggestion, Abby ran a warm bath and told her to get comfortable.
"I didn't realize I was in labor until halfway through," Abby told the Huffington Post. "All of a sudden, it just got very intense. Either something was wrong and we needed to leave right away, or I was about to deliver, which I just couldn't wrap my brain around."
With a due date of October 30, the couple, already parents to a 2-year-old son, had prepared for the worst. They met Abby's OB and physician's assistant, who gave the couple some sterilized gloves just in case. That evening, they put the gloves and some other household items to use.
"My wife said, 'You know those potato chip bag clips? Let's just find them and keep them out.' So now we have gloves and a potato chip clip to clamp the umbilical cord. And we were thinking, 'This is totally far-fetched, but at least we have it,'" Stephen says.
Around 10:30, Abby knew she was about to give birth. While most moms-to-be would have freaked out, Abby remained calm. Stephen asked a neighbor, who's a physician's assistant, to come to the home to help. Together, they delivered her 8-pound baby Henley in less than 30 minutes. Given her experience, both personally and professionally, Abby knew what to do.
"Once the baby was out, I became my neonatologist self and told them what to do: Clamp the cord! Get towels! Get a hat!," Abby recalls.
"Fifteen minutes later, in comes the ob-gyn from upstairs, in come all of these police and ambulance people, and we're sitting in the bathroom with two potato chip clamps on each end of the umbilical cord," Stephen says.
The ambulance eventually transported Abby and Henley to a nearby hospital. Can you believe Henley was one of several babies born healthily during Hurricane Sandy?!
Did you /do you have a birth back-up plan in case of an emergency?