That's What Neighbors Do

Unexpected Curbside Delivery

With 20 years of experience between them, Labor & Delivery nurses Stacy Steenrod, RN, and Sarah Halsey, RN, have welcomed lots of babies into the world. Naturally, when they received a call to come to the hospital lobby to assist a woman who might be in labor, they took it in stride. But on their way to the elevator, Stacy responded to a gut feeling and ran back at the last minute to get an emergency delivery kit, “just in case.”

“I’m always prepared for the unexpected,” Sarah said.

When Stacy and Sarah arrived in the lobby, the nurses came face to face with the unexpected. The mom in need of help was still seated in her van outside the main entrance with her husband by her side. Sarah and Stacy stepped out into the 30-degree air and approached the mother in distress. Her tiny baby had already been partially delivered—all but the head. The nurses knew a feet-first birth puts a baby at high risk for suffocation. It was time for an emergency rescue.

“Once I saw what was happening, I knew I had to get the baby inside and to the help she needed,” said Sarah. “We’re trained for emergency deliveries, but you never know when they’re going to happen.”

With Stacy’s assistance, Sarah used the emergency kit to free the premature baby’s head. Sarah knew it was critical to keep the lifeless-looking newborn warm, so she used her fleece winter jacket as a blanket and rushed the baby inside to the Special Care Nursery. Baby Arya wasn’t breathing.

“My heart dropped,” said Nicole Allison of Albion, Arya’s mother. “I’m glad they took action immediately to save her. I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t made it.”

Stacy stayed behind to reassure Nicole and help her get inside to recover. Once both Arya and Nicole were stable, mother and daughter were reunited.

Despite her preterm birth and her unusual outdoor “delivery room,” little Arya is thriving thanks to her loving family, including three big brothers, and two exceptional, quick-thinking nurses.

Baby Arya is doing so well that Nicole returned to the hospital in December to let her daughter’s life-saving nurses see for themselves.

“It felt wonderful to hold Arya,” Sarah said. “It was very rewarding.”

Stacy was equally moved by the reunion.

“I’ve never delivered a baby ‘outside’ the hospital. It made my heart happy to see Nicole and her baby and to know they are okay,” Sarah said. “When you have the opportunity to save a baby, it’s the best feeling in the world.”

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