Dr. Amanda Hess is a regular fixture at the delivery room of Frankfort, Kentucky’s Regional Medical Center.
She had delivered thousands of babies there in her career, but things were different on July 23.
Devoted doctor and mother, Amanda Hess had figured she’d be working ’til late in her pregnancy.
As such, she took a call the day before she went into labor and thought she’d be working until the very last minute. But the circumstances she soon faced literally left her working right up to the last second.
Hess reminisced about the event in an article in Romper online magazine: “Moments like this help me remember why I love what I do.”
The ironic series of events began with a patient being admitted; Halliday Johnson’s fourth child decided it was ready to be born.
Unfortunately, soon after hard labor began the baby became entangled in the umbilical cord and with every contraction its heartbeat kept falling.
At the same time, in an adjoining room, Dr. Hess had already changed out of her street clothes and into a patient gown and was awaiting her own delivery.
Quite by chance, Hess happened to glance at the computer screen that alerts medical staff to patient’s conditions.
She immediately noticed that the woman in the next room was showing signs of impending complications. She heard cries of pain and asked a nurse what was going on.
The answer was grim: The on-call doctor was en-route but couldn’t get there in time to save the fading baby. That’s when Hess sprang into action.
Realizing the baby’s life was at stake, Hess hopped down from the table. She put on another gown, put splash-proof boots over her flip-flops and headed for the other woman’s delivery room.
When Hess entered Halliday Johnson’s husband immediately noticed that the doctor wasn’t wearing professional garb. But he was so grateful to have help arrive that he said nothing.
As for Halliday, she never noticed Hess’s dress. She was too busy trying not to push, ignoring every signal her body was giving.
Reader’s Digest says Hess remembers saying, “I’m not on call, I’m here in a gown, but I think we ought to have the baby.” And that is what they did.
After painfully minding the warnings to not push, once Hess gave the green light Halliday Johnson quickly pushed her new baby girl out into the world.
Soon after her patient’s labor ended with the birth of a healthy girl, Hess went into labor herself. Then she walked back to her original room, climbed up on the table and gave birth 11 hours later. Also to a baby girl.
In an article on the PEOPLE website, Halliday Johnson said:
“I was not being quiet about the fact that it was difficult for me not to push,” adding that with no time for any pain medication, she let out a scream or two.
Giving birth is never easy. It gets difficult quickly when you can’t do what your body is ordering you to do.
Not only did she not recognize Hess’s clothing, she didn’t recognize Hess. But Hess recognized her; in fact, they had met at the clinic when Halliday Johnson had come for a prenatal screening just days earlier.
But it didn’t matter to Hess that the woman wasn’t her regular patient. She was a fellow mom in need, trying to deliver a baby in distress.
Her instincts took over and she did what she had to do, then she took care of the business she had originally come there to do.
It isn’t uncommon for women to deliver their babies without their doctors being present.
L & D (Labor and Delivery) nurses know that part of their job may mean stepping in and helping babies come into the world when doctors can’t get there in time.
We’ve all heard stories of women having their babies in cars, taxi cabs, at home or even at work, right?
Considering how quickly this story went viral though, it’s obvious that it’s not all that common for a doctor to deliver a baby and then turn around and go into labor themselves.
That, I’m willing to guess, is pretty darn special.