Father uses face mask to tie umbilical cord of baby born outside hospital

Sarah Rose and David Patrick knew they would be required to wear masks at the hospital during the delivery of their baby, but they never imagined they would use one to bind his umbilical cord.

The couple from the US city of Louisville in Kentucky also never pictured being out in the cold when they welcomed their son.

Yet that was their reality over the country’s Mother’s Day weekend.

Mrs Patrick went into labour more than a week before her 17 May due date.

“She wakes me up at 1am Saturday and says that she has been pacing on the bedroom and bathroom floor for the past few hours,” said Mr Patrick.

She also told him the contractions were occurring more frequently and that they needed to go see their doctor.

They left their other children, three-year-old Hadassah and Asher, aged one, with their paternal grandparents and quickly went to the Baptist Health Louisville hospital.

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Patrick family
Image:Mrs Patrick says she thinks it will be their last baby. Pic: Patrick family

When they arrived, both in masks, they tried to enter the maternity unit, Mr Patrick said, but they were met with locked doors.

“The first doors opened,” he said. “The second set were locked.”

They tried another entrance but it was also securely shut.

“I tell my wife, ‘We need to just go back to the car and go to the emergency room because we know they’ll be open,'” he said.

But before they could make it to the car, her waters broke.

With the temperature hovering at just above freezing, and the couple stuck outside on the pavement, Mrs Patrick was on the verge of collapse.

Mr Patrick said: “She sits down and then lays down in foetal position.”

He rang the 911 emergency number and the call handler told him an ambulance was being sent.

But the baby came first.

The dispatcher instructed him to remove his wife’s underwear as they needed “to clear a path for him”.

Mr Patrick promptly did so only to see the top of his son’s head emerging.

“I said to the dispatcher, ‘I see my son’s head,” he recalled.

“In five or 10 seconds, the rest of his body slips out like a wet fish.”

The dispatcher then told him to wipe the baby’s face and mouth.

He then handed his newborn son, whom they named Navi, to his wife and took off his leather jacket to keep the pair warm.

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The dispatcher then told Mr Patrick to bind the umbilical cord, but rummaging through his wife’s overnight bag could not find anything to help.

Mrs Patrick then took her mask off and handed it to her husband, who used it to tie-off the umbilical cord of their 6lb newborn son.

By that time, the ambulance arrived, as did nurses from the hospital who took the family inside.

Mrs Patrick, aged 36, said she thinks it will be their last child.

And she is certain last weekend will go down as the mother of all weekends.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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