5 Minutes Before My Flight, I Gave Birth In An Airport Bathroom

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“November 14, 2018 started as a busy day of finishing up packing and keeping a toddler entertained and awake for a flight at midnight. My husband is in the Navy and we made the choice that when I was 29 weeks pregnant to pack up our home, turn in the keys to our rental in Washington State, and move my son and I to live with family in Kentucky ahead of my husband’s deployment. Because only a crazy person would want to travel across the country with a toddler, a newborn, a cat and a dog.

A week prior we had gone into my doctor’s office for an ultrasound to make sure everything was ok for our long travel home. Though there were some concerns, I was monitored and given the okay to fly. My friend drove us to the airport and as we were unloading our 5 bags, a car seat, a stroller, a diaper bag, and a cat and dog carrier. I looked at her and said ‘Katie, I really need to poop.’ We all just laughed and kept unloading. My husband checked us in at the counter and I went to the bathroom to take care of my business before the excruciating security line. We finally got through security and back to our gate with plenty of time to sit and relax. As soon as we got to the gate though I told my husband Billy ‘I have to go to the bathroom again.’ He was rolling our son around in the stroller because at 11:30 p.m. it was way past his bed time, and he was getting cranky. I walked out of the bathroom and my stomach was hurting like I had the worst stomach virus you could imagine. Billy rolled back around, and I looked at him, hunched over, to blurt out ‘There’s no way I am going to make it 6 hours on this flight.’ Being the supportive husband, he was trying to cheer me on.

‘Come on babe, you can make it. You’ve already made it this far.’ He said this while clapping his hands like we were in the last minutes of a basketball game and he’s coaching me through.

‘No, Billy. I need an ambulance. Go the desk and call one.’

‘Heather, how does an ambulance get to the airport?’

At this point, I inched myself up to the counter and over to the man making boarding announcements. I told him ‘Ed, I need you to call an ambulance. I think I am in labor.’ He looks at me with wide eyes and goes straight to dialing the phone number and hands it to me. I couldn’t answer questions because I was getting too uncomfortable and my contractions were getting pretty strong. I needed to use the bathroom again. My Husband hangs up the phone and follows behind me to the restrooms. The janitor was standing in front of the door with signs that said the bathroom was closed for cleaning, but I tried to walk around. She stopped me, ‘No, the floor is wet you have to wait.’

I was in so much pain I walked away yelling so choice colorful words at her. I stood by my husband bent in half and could see the fire departments feet shuffle up to us and I grabbed my husband’s leg and said I really need to go to the bathroom right now. A woman voice told me ‘Well, let’s go to the family restroom so we can ask you some questions and everyone can come in it will be a bit more private.’

Five minutes before our flight was to board, we all piled into the tiny family restroom and I sit down on the toilet. The firefighter asked me ‘Heather, how far along are you?’ I looked up and my eye got as big as baseballs and I yelled, ‘Oh my God, He’s coming’ as I felt his head pop out, I stood up hoping to catch my tiny son, but he just slid right out and landed in the toilet. I remember screaming ‘Please help me get him out of the toilet.’ I lay on the floor and the woman grabbed him and wrapped him in some blankets while I pushed out the placenta. I could hear them getting the changing table out and ready to make sure he was ok. I heard the tiniest little squeal like a mouse and Capt. Mcginnis tipped him down to me and reassured me ‘He’s doing great you have a boy!’ Everything after that in the bathroom was a blur. I remember the faces and my husband sticking his head in the bathroom with a terrified look in his eyes. They loaded me and my family, including our fur babies, in one ambulance and my son in another.

When we got to the hospital, we looked like a circus we had a screaming toddler, a scared husband, a cat, and a dog. I went to the restroom and I hear a nurse say ‘Oh, there’s a dog in here.’ He had chewed through the career and was running around the hospital room. We still couldn’t see my son while they were admitting him into the NICU, but we were told he was doing really well and did amazing on his ride from the airport. One of the firefighters that was there first, Steven, carried him the whole ride. it didn’t take long for us to find out we were known as ‘The airport baby.’ I was told that it’s not uncommon to go into labor at the airport, but it is very uncommon for a baby to actually be born there. In the last 40 years at the seat airport there had only been two babies born there.

We finally were able to go back and see him and he was so small and tiny. Wyatt Dale was born weighing 3 pounds and 9.5 ounces. He was 16 inches long and despite his splash of an entrance into the world was doing great.

Father stands over newborn in NICU who was born in airport bathroom
Courtesy Heather Jackson

We were able to go to the fire department to thank the team who helped save my son and keep me calm.

Husband and wife stand with their son beside EMT's who took them from airport to hospital after woman gave birth
Courtesy Heather Jackson

He will be in the NICU for quite a while but has no major complications other than making his arrival extra early. Now, when he gets to graduate from the NICU we get to be those crazy people who travel across the country with a toddler, a newborn, and a cat and dog. We can’t wait to bring our little man home at the end of January!

Mother smiles in selfie while sitting in NICU with newborn asleep in her lap
Courtesy Heather Jackson

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Heather Jackson. Submit your story here.

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