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.