A new study has found that, on average, labor now takes about two hours longer than it did 50 years ago. But if researchers had included a few new moms who gave birth recently, that number might bounce back up.
When Amy Cray's contractions started, she thought she had time. Being a sensible Englishwoman from Stapleford, U.K., she had tea with her partner, Brent Farrell, before heading out the door last Thursday. Dad told the local Nottingham paper that Amy wasn't in excessive pain when she started having contractions, but he knew they needed to leave for the hospital. During tea time, Amy went to the bathroom -- and then her pain worsened. Brent had gone to pack the car when he heard Amy screaming; her water had broken, and she couldn't move. ITVNews reports that Amy had accidentally locked the door, so Dad had to "smash it open" to deliver his son, Sebastian, at 7:13 am. The ambulance arrived 17 minutes later. According to the paper, "he's a perfect, healthy baby."
Just two days earlier, on this side of the pond, Ashley Hoylman, 28, of Keokuk County, Iowa, ended up having her third child before she ever made it to the maternity ward. Her husband, Jeremiah, had started driving towards Mercy Iowa City hospital. Ashley told the AP that once they were in the car, she knew she wouldn’t make it all the way there. Jeremiah, a volunteer firefighter, pulled off the highway and onto a gravel road, then called an emergency dispatcher for assistance. "He took his shirt off and wrapped the baby with his shirt. Then he took the drawstring from my pants and wrapped it around my umbilical cord," Ashley explained. Mom, dad, and new baby, Brecken, waited for an ambulance to take them to the hospital. The family will return home by the end of the week, KCRG reports.
A few days before that, on March 30th, Christy Henry of San Diego delivered her own baby as her husband, Matt, raced at 85 mph to the hospital. It was four days past her due date when Christy woke up at midnight; she knew the time had come. Matt brought their older son to a friend's house, returned home -– to the 41-foot boat they live on -– and then escorted his wife to their car. UTSanDiego.com reports that when Christy announced that her water had broken, Matt began to speed up. And then Christy said, "I just had the baby." Dad proceeded to the hospital where he got to cut the umbilical cord. "My wife is such a rock star," he said.
A week before Henry's quick delivery, Katherine Oyedoh went into labor 36,000 feet above ground on a flight from Africa to Atlanta. Luckily, there was an OBGYN on board who was able to deliver the baby. A flight attendant took the baby and lifted him across the seats as the whole airplane applauded. "It was a 'Lion King' moment," she told Tampa Bay Online.
In 2000, Sofia Pedro <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2000/mar/02/mozambique1" target="_hplink">climbed a tree</a> to escape the floodwaters in Mozambique, Africa. The brave mom held onto branches as she delivered her baby Rosita. A few minutes later, they were rescued by a South African helicopter crew, umbilical cord still attached.
In 2007, McDonald's employee Danille Miller -- who didn't know she was pregnant -- felt a sudden urge to run to the bathroom during her shift. A few minutes later, she <a href="http://www.babble.com/CS/blogs/strollerderby/archive/2007/12/30/baby-born-at-mcdonald-s-mom-didn-t-know-she-was-pregnant.aspx" target="_hplink">gave birth to baby Austin</a>. Sources were unable to confirm if she changed her greeting to, "Would you like a baby with that burger?"
Dominique Trevino was on the way to the hospital by bus in 2009 when she started <a href="http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_11573019" target="_hplink">having contractions</a>. Another passenger, who worked at the hospital, told her to get off at the library. Once inside, library security pitched in to help deliver her baby girl. She only had to push twice.
Sonia Marina Nascimento stopped by a <a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/cambridgeshire/8050190.stm" target="_hplink">post office in England</a> to buy a mobile phone credit -- but got more than just a top up: she went into labor and gave birth to a baby girl right there. The post-master, who put the baby on the scales (and handled her with care?), said she weighed "the equivalent of an £8.22 first class parcel."
In 2009, Tiffany Kohls gave birth a few <a href="http://www.wkow.com/Global/story.asp?S=11431007" target="_hplink">feet away from a hospital</a> in Wisconsin. She said there was no stopping her son Kellen's arrival. Security guards and a nurse helped delivered him.
In 2010, Amanda McBride felt like she was <a href="http://content.usatoday.com/communities/ondeadline/post/2010/05/minnesota-woman-gives-birth-while-driving-herself-to-the-hospital/1" target="_hplink">going into labor</a>, so she picked up her husband -- who suffers from seizures -- and headed towards the hospital. While en route, her water broke and her husband took the wheel. "And then, all of a sudden, I heard this little waa-a-a-a (cry)," he said.
A New Jersey couple was on their way to the hospital when mom Alshesirca started having contractions on the <a href="http://www.northjersey.com/news/transportation/011011_Woman_gives_birth_on_parkway_husband_delivers_child.html" target="_hplink">Garden State Parkway</a>. Dad-to-be Nelson pulled over and delivered his baby on the side of the road with a 911 operator guiding him. "I was just glad we were driving our truck and not our Civic," said mom.
In September, Aida Alamillo was <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/21/baby-born-on-plane-nation_n_973437.html" target="_hplink">flying from Manila to San Francisco</a> when she went into pre-term labor. Three nurses on board and cabin crew members helped deliver baby Kevin Raymar Francis Domingo --"Francis" because they were en route to San Francisco.
OK, so she was technically at home, but Nancy Salgueiro set up a high-definition video camera in her living room in Canada to <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/story/2011/10/17/ottawa-live-birth-online.html" target="_hplink">livestream the birth of her son</a>. More than 2,000 people registered to watch online. Her two-year-old son cut the umbilical cord.
Performance artist Marni Kotak <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/26/marni-kotak-performance-a_n_1032365.html" target="_hplink">made headlines</a> earlier this year when she announced her plans to give birth inside a New York art gallery because it is the "highest form of art." With approximately 20 people in the room, she delivered baby Ajax in late October. Footage of the birth will be added to an upcoming exhibition at the Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn.