Mary – Carnival Birth

Mary: Unexpected Carnival Delivery

As a volunteer medic at a County Fair for many years, and as an instructor trainer for First Responder courses, including emergency childbirth, I often joked with my (well trained) crew about how much fun it might be to deliver a baby at the Fair some year, and, preferably, in the Carnival!

Imagine my surprise when a very young woman, past her due date, came in and asked if she could rest a while in our First Aid station. We made her comfortable and chatted about childbirth, previous children, mine/hers, etc. She mentioned that this was her second baby, and that her first baby went from labor to delivery in 30 minutes. Yikes!

As she was with the Carnival (not currently working) and living in less than optimal quarters where she couldn’t easily get help, I made her promise not to be anywhere alone. She kept her word and stayed primarily with the folks at the Carnival Cook Shack.

Somewhere about dinner time (after my staff had joked that I had lost my chance to deliver a baby/should have made her stay with us, etc.) a man came running in. I can only describe him as being somewhat “on fire.” He exclaimed that “stuff was coming out” of whom I assumed was his pregnant girlfriend.

We had to slow him down as he was running back out the door to show us where she was!

I never really thought we’d “do it,” – deliver a baby at the County Fair, at the Carnival, especially as the local Fire Department was very close by and would likely beat us to the punch… But not this time!

We got there first, delivered her baby (a boy) right there behind a carnival ride, in less than hygienic conditions, in under twenty minutes from the start of her labor. And, no – one OB Kit is NOT enough; and yes – he was born still fully inside the sack, which we ruptured so that he could breathe.

I truly do believe that if mom had gone off on her own and gone into labor alone… he might have died.

“What went wrong?” Nothing! My team (and yes, it took a team!!!) performed exactly as we had been trained to do. Radio communications, fairground notifications, gates that unlocked…so many seemingly small details, needed to, and did, come together. I almost felt like the conductor of a symphony orchestra, with each of us, each instrument, playing our part.

What advice would I give? Train, retrain, drill, stay current, stay ready. Who knows – you might just get to deliver a healthy baby boy behind a carnival ride at a county fair someday!