Giving birth in the hospital parking garage is not a part of any woman’s birth plan, but that’s exactly what happened to Tameka Cooper, a resident of Magee, Miss., around 2 p.m. on August 6.
Tameka thought she was experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, also known as false labor. However, during her office visit, her OB physician determined Tameka was in fact in early labor and instructed her to go straight to Forrest General Hospital. On the way to the hospital, things escalated faster than anyone could have expected, and Tameka found herself driving to the hospital in active labor. When she made it to the entrance of Forrest General’s Family Birthplace, there was simply no time left.
“I tried to walk, but the pain was unbearable. By the time I walked one step, my water broke and out she came,” Tameka said.
Rickye Brown, who lives in Hattiesburg, was standing outside of The Family Birthplace with his son-in-law when they heard Tameka calling for help. Rickye sent his son-in-law into the hospital to get a doctor, and he ran over to Tameka’s car to help her.
Tameka Cooper and Rickye Brown
“When I ran over, I saw that her water broke. The baby was coming out, and I could see her head. That’s when I knew I needed to find somewhere for Miss Tameka to lay down. It was hot outside, and she looked like she could barely stand. So I opened the door to the back seat of the car and helped her get in. She was still holding the baby, and I saw the nurses coming. The doctors and the nurses came and did the rest. I just did what I could just to help her,” Rickye said.
Tameka gave birth to a healthy 7 pound, 7 ounce baby girl, Jermia. Both mom and baby are doing well, and even took some time to visit with Rickye, his wife, Rashonda, and his son, Kaidunne.
Family Birthplace staff who assisted on-site
“Every pregnancy and labor is different, and the timing of when someone goes into labor and how quickly the baby arrives is unpredictable,” said Jeffrey Hudson, MD, the physician who delivered Tameka’s baby.
Although giving birth outside of the hospital is not ideal, physicians and staff at The Family Birthplace say they are standing by and ready to take care of any situation.
“We have protocols in place for every situation. You never know what you’re responding to when someone calls for help. Everybody responds; it’s a team effort. That’s what we do up here. We deliver babies—wherever and whenever they come. We like for them to be delivered in the hospital, but it’s just what we do,” said Madelyn Trosclair, RN, PCC.