The group of us sat around the dining room table, gaping at a cellphone. I was hanging out with a bunch of other moms from the neighborhood, and one had just told us that years ago she’d given birth on a local highway. Even more incredible: they’d gotten a copy of the recording of her husband’s call to 911, and she had it on her iPhone. It lasted 9 minutes, and we all listened in fascination as the husband grew more and more nervous (“When are you getting here?!”) and the officer on the other end of the line advised her not to push (!!!). She had the baby before the ambulance arrived.
Like meeting cute stories, you never get tired of hearing about birth stories. These are some of the most memorable ones out there.
Woman gives birth to twins on separate highways 1 of 10
"The babies are coming!" yelled Siobhan Anderson. She and her husband, Bryan, were on a highway in Long Island, New York, en route to the hospital. He pulled over and called 911. As the EMTs got her onto the stretcher, Gavin was born. An ambulance whisked the mom and babe to a hospital — only it had to make a pit stop to deliver Declan, on another highway. Maybe one of the first time in history a mom walked into a hospital with her newborn twins.
Image source: Screen grab/ABC News
Woman gives birth on a New York City street 2 of 10
Trying to hail a taxi in New York can be a frustrating experience. Giving up on hailing a taxi because you are about to give birth: whoa. That's what happened to mom Polly McCourt, who lay down on the street outside her apartment building when she realized the baby wasn't waiting for the cab — and became one of the most famous moms in recent history. Passersby helped deliver her baby girl, Ila; some offered their scarves to keep the newborn warm, while others recorded the moment for all posterity on Twitter. Mom and baby are doing fine; McCourt was so grateful to a woman who took off her coat to cover her that she gave Ila her middle name, Isabel.
Woman gives birth at her own baby shower 3 of 10
Brit mom Anna Smith felt a few cramps just as her baby shower was about to start, but she wasn't due for another two weeks so she figured she was OK. Then the guests began to arrive ... and so did her daughter. Two bridesmaids helped deliver baby Martha in a room upstairs; guests clapped and cheered when they heard her cry. Said one, "I only went round for a cupcake, but I got a lot more than I bargained for."
Image source: Flickr/April and Randy
Woman gives birth to a toddler 4 of 10
One of the largest babies born on record: British tot George King, who tipped the scales at 15 pounds, 7 ounces. "When his head was out, that's when they realized he's so big," said his mom, Jade." And then his shoulders got stuck, and that's when everything sort of kicked off, really." The baby stayed in the hospital for a month and left healthy. Only challenge: he'd outgrown his newborn clothes even before he was born.
Image source: Screen grab, BBC video
Woman gives birth on a sled 5 of 10
Fabian Bonanni of Philadelphia had a plan in case his pregnant wife, Shirley, couldn't walk from their house down their ice-covered driveway to the car: he'd take her by sled. So when her contractions started, the couple headed outside and he helped her onto the sled. That's when the baby decided to take her own ride ... straight out of the birth canal. Fabian bundled the infant in blankets and dashed inside as a neighbor, his roommate and her in-laws hauled Shirley, still on the sled, inside. Baby Bella weighed 7 pounds, 9 ounces. No word yet on whether she likes snow sports.
Woman gives birth in a Walmart parking lot 6 of 10
So you're really pregnant, you have three kids and you need groceries. Good time to send Dad in to Walmart to get them! Or maybe not, because by the time the Melbourne, Florida dad emerged, his wife had given birth to a baby boy. Walmart's getting to be a birth hot spot — last year, a reported four babies were born there. Though it's doubtful health insurance companies will be listing them as a provider anytime soon.
Woman gives birth in a hospital elevator 7 of 10
Katie Thacker was in labor and in the right place: the hospital. The Washington mom, two nurses and a midwife were headed up to the birthing center. Only the elevator got stuck. Maintenance crew jumped in to fix it, but the baby had other ideas: the birthing crew delivered him in the elevator as the father listened by walkie-talkie. When technicians finally pried the doors open, he climbed in and cut the umbilical cord. The baby's official name: Blake. Nickname: Otis. As in, Otis Elevator Company.
Image source: Screen grab/King 5 Video
Woman gives birth in a Barnes & Noble 8 of 10
In our tech-happy world, it's still a pleasure to browse in a bookstore. Having your baby on the floor there? Maybe not so much. A woman ended up giving birth in the lobby of a Los Angeles area Barnes & Noble about 10 minutes after she'd walked in the door. A crowd gathered to watch firefighters deliver the baby boy; mercifully, nobody tweeted it.
Image source: Flickr/Arturo Yee
Woman gives birth at home alone 9 of 10
Erica Bovino of Southington, Connecticut, knew she was in labor. It was 1:00 a.m., but she thought she had plenty of time — the birth of her last baby had lasted 30 hours. So instead of asking her husband, a police officer, to rush home she just waited. Then her water broke at 5:20 a.m. and she felt the baby coming. She kept calm with breathing techniques, made it to the bathroom, squatted, reached down and grabbed her baby girl. Bovino, who'd planned on using a midwife for her birth, said she hopes her experience will inspire pregnant women "to trust themselves and trust their bodies." A fine thing but, then again, epidurals rock.
Image source: Flickr/Andre Chinn
Woman gives birth in a tree 10 of 10
It's one of the most dramatic birth stories ever: Back in 2000, a million people had to evacuate their homes in Mozambique because of flooding. A very pregnant Sophia Pedro and her mother-in-law took refuge in the branches of a tree, where she stayed for four days as water raged below her. Then she went into labor. An hour later, a helicopter hovered above as countless people watched on TV; a medic descended and within two minutes, the baby was born. Her daughter, now a teen, hopes to be a doctor someday.
Image source: Flickr/FH Mira