Giving birth is a personal and intimate experience. Some choose to do so at home, while others opt for the amenities that the hospital can offer. In some cases, however, there simply is no choice in where the baby is coming once it decides to come.
For the following women, the miracle of life happened in some strange yet memorable places, leaving them with stories to tell for years to come. Here are ten decidedly unusual places where women have given birth.
While this may sound like the plot of the 2000 Natalie Portman movie Where the Heart Is, it is far from fiction.
An unnamed woman in Utah had no plans to give birth the day she went into Walmart to buy a few necessities in October 2016. After managing to complete her shopping trip, the woman and her husband went through checkout and were about to pay when she started feeling pains. By then, it became obvious that she was in labor, but before any other measures were taken, the woman insisted on paying first. Despite the manager insisting it wasn’t necessary, the woman paid for her merchandise and ended up being too far along for emergency services to get there in time to help deliver the baby.
The mother gave birth in checkout aisle 11 to a healthy baby boy before being taken to the hospital. Afterward, the store employees and managers stayed in contact with the mother and detailed their plans to throw her a baby shower, providing her with gifts such as diapers and formula and even a cake to celebrate the birth of the baby.
This is not the first baby to be born in a Walmart. Similar incidents have occurred in Georgia, Kansas, Colorado, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Virginia, New York, Indiana, and Quebec, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “one-stop shop.”
Breakfast is considered the most important meal of the day, and at a Sarasota, Florida, McDonald’s in December 2016, it was an important time of the day for a completely different reason.
April Jones was visiting her local McDonald’s to have breakfast with her mother during the latter’s shift on a regular Saturday morning. What April didn’t expect was for her breakfast to be interrupted by a man calling for help. Sean Jordan and his expecting wife Cathy, along with their two-year old son, had also stopped in McDonald’ for a quick bite to eat. While waiting for her food, Cathy had experienced a sudden need to use the restroom, and while she was in there, she began to go into labor. She called for help and was heard by her husband, who alerted the restaurant. A person in the next stall offered Cathy her jacket once Cathy announced she was in labor. Thankfully, April, a nurse who works with the elderly, was able to go to the mother’s aid.
By the time April joined the mother in the bathroom stall, Cathy had already started crowning. At this time, it also became obvious that the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck. April was able to turn the baby boy and loosen the cord, but he was blue and not breathing on his own. Paramedics arrived on the scene, helping April cut the cord, and the baby was given oxygen.
The paramedics took both mother and son to the ambulance for treatment, and April was allowed to see them before they were taken to the hospital. At this point, the baby boy was breathing on his own and had opened his eyes. The experience had April considering going back to school to become a registered nurse and work in labor and delivery, deciding that she was, in fact, “lovin’ it.”
When a baby decides it’s on its way, the time between labor and delivery varies greatly. For one mother, making a pit stop on the way to the hospital didn’t seem to be a problem. Falon Griffin went into labor in July 2018 and was en route to the hospital when she and her husband Robert had to drop their two daughters off with a friend. The meeting point chosen? A San Antonio Chick-fil-A.
While Robert was bringing the girls over to meet their friend, Falon had a serious urge to use the restroom. Despite already being in labor, she managed to get out of the car and ask the manager if she could be allowed in. The manager agreed, but it turned out that Falon’s need to use the restroom was a sign of the labor progressing, and the baby was no longer waiting to get to the hospital to arrive.
Thankfully, the staff helped Falon and Robert, bringing them towels and standing by as Robert used his shirt to help deliver his newborn daughter right in the bathroom stall. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around the baby’s neck, not once but twice, yet Robert was able to loosen it without alerting his wife to the setback. The baby, named Gracelyn, was born in the bathroom stall, and the manager and Chick-fil-A staff warmed up towels to keep her warm until the paramedics arrived minutes later.
After the birth, the store owner pledged that Gracelyn would be able to eat free food there for life and would be guaranteed a job if she wanted it. The manager and staff were so excited that they consulted with the owner so that when Gracelyn turns one, her first birthday can be celebrated in the exact same place she was born.
The use of lifeboats is normally reserved for dire circumstances, when it’s necessary to save the lives of others—or in this case, to help bring a new life into the world. On the Scottish island of Mull, the ferry runs only from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, leaving the emergency lifeboat as the only alternative to get back to the mainland. So at around 5:00 AM on August 3, 2009, Junelle Wilson and her husband boarded the Oban lifeboat, hoping they could get to the mainland in time for the paramedics waiting for them at the dock to take them to the hospital.
Junelle had realized she was going into labor, and due to the lack of alternatives, she and her husband made the call for the emergency lifeboat to take them. What Junelle didn’t expect was for her contractions to continue to increase and for her baby to decide that right then and there was the best time to come into the world, on a lifeboat in the bay just five minutes from Oban Harbor. Thankfully, the Oban lifeboat crew were prepared, and there was a midwife on board ready to help Junelle deliver her baby. With their help, Junelle gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and about 12 hours after she boarded the lifeboat, both Junelle and her son, Van Harris, were boarding the ferry to go back home.
For the crew of the Oban lifeboat, delivering babies is nothing new. Van Harris is one of four babies to have been born on the lifeboat as of 2016 and was the only boy so far.
Getting a cab in New York City can be difficult and time-consuming, but for one mother, getting a taxi was the least of her worries. Polly McCourt started to feel ill one afternoon in February 2014. After sending her oldest kid to a playground with a friend, calling for their babysitter to watch her youngest, and heading home, Polly’s symptoms started to worsen. She called her doctor, and Polly was instructed to go to the hospital—immediately.
By the time she made it into the lobby of her apartment building after calling her husband, her water had broke. Her doorman had already hailed a cab for her, which arrived at the same moment Polly realized she wouldn’t be making it into the cab, let alone to the hospital. The baby was coming now, right there on the sidewalk outside her building. With the help of her doorman and a crowd that had gathered, Polly delivered her baby girl outside her home.
A woman named Isabel Williams offered Polly and her newborn daughter her coat. Polly and her husband Cian, who arrived three minutes after their daughter was born, named the baby Ila Isabel, her middle name chosen for the kindness bestowed upon them by a stranger.
In what was supposed to be a routine flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico, to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, those on board received a different sort of in-flight entertainment. Despite sounding like the introduction for a TV show, a baby was born during a JetBlue flight in February 2019. The mother had boarded the plane and seemed fine, though it became obvious during the flight that the situation was about to take a turn.
Somewhere between Puerto Rico and Florida, the mother began to go into labor, and thanks to the staff on board, she was able to deliver a baby boy with no complications. The mother and baby were reported to be fine and were met on the ground by paramedics who checked them both over.
Despite the chaos of having a baby being delivered on the plane, the flight ended up arriving 11 minutes ahead of schedule. The baby is officially JetBlue’s youngest customer to ever fly with them. Coincidentally, the plane which hosted the birth is named “Born to Be Blue.”
Babies being born on planes isn’t exactly unheard-of. In 2017, a woman gave birth prematurely to a baby during her Jet Airways flight from Saudi Arabia to India, and the baby was given free plane tickets for life by the airline.
Theme parks are full of happiness, time spent with the family, adventure, and sometimes even unexpected surprises. In July 2018, a Georgia mom named Crusita was enjoying the day at the park with her daughter in Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags when she realized that something was off. She took her daughter with her to the first aid post and informed them that she was pretty certain she was going into labor.
The Six Flags team acted quickly, calling emergency responders in to help Crusita, and although they arrived quickly, Crusita was already too far along to make it to the hospital. Instead, Crusita had her baby in the theme park with no complications. The baby boy, named Matthew, was the second baby to be born at the park.
To celebrate the birth of Matthew, Six Flags offered both him and his mother Diamond Elite Memberships, allowing them to enter any Six Flags park for free for the rest of their lives.
As the saying goes, when you know, you know. Chantal McKenna had been experiencing contractions since midnight one morning in July 2017. At 7:30 AM, she knew it was time to go to the hospital. Unfortunately, going anywhere in New York takes a bit of time, even if it’s just grabbing the elevator in your own apartment building.
Chantal and her husband, Mark, along with their doula, gathered up their things and headed to the elevator, which they found filled. Even though Mark announced that Chantal was in labor and had to go to the hospital, their neighbors only moved out of the way and then rode the elevator the whole 24 floors down while Chantal battled her contractions.
By the time they got to the bottom, their Uber had already left. Thankfully, their doorman was able to catch them a cab even though it was the morning rush hour. As the taxi crept through the slow-moving traffic, Chantal’s contractions kept speeding up, and by the time they got to Central Park, Chantal was well-aware that she was going to have her baby right there, in the back of the cab. The baby was born only a few minutes later, surprising both the doula and Chantal, who went to check on how far along Chantal was and found her baby’s head sticking out.
The cab driver had pulled over by that time, and emergency personnel were called, all while a crowd gathered, cheering and congratulating the couple. Paramedics checked out the newly named Josef, who was completely healthy, and the family was transported to the hospital—but not before paying their fare and generously tipping their cab driver.
Nate Jones and his wife, Amenze, had planned out the delivery of their baby, but their plans were derailed on the way to the hospital in March 2011 when Nate was pulled over for speeding. Even though they weren’t given a ticket, their timetable was now cut short, and Amenze warned her husband that there was no way she was going to make it to the hospital.
Nate chose to pull into the nearest parking lot so that he could call 911. The parking lot in question was that of Flashdancers, a popular Arlington, Texas, strip club. The strip club was not unfamiliar to Nate, a reporter for the local newspaper who had covered the club on a few occasions. Their plans were once again changed when it was discovered that no one from the emergency medical personnel called in had ever delivered a baby before. Thankfully, Amanze knew what to expect, as did Nate, with this being their third child. With the help of paramedics, they were able to deliver their baby boy safely into the world.
Bouncers kept the growing crowd at bay; no longer were patrons interested in the show inside but were more focused on what was going outside. The baby, named William, was taken to the hospital and given a clean bill of health.
Getting to the hospital in time can be one of the hardest struggles for mothers when their child decides to change its arrival plans. One mother, Katie Thacker, had the opposite problem in January 2012. After getting safely to the St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington, with her husband, mom, sister, and midwife in tow, Katie was transported along with three nurses to the 14th floor in order for her to give birth. On the way there, however, the elevator made an unplanned stop on floor 12. Deciding to get off to give Katie more space, as her contractions were increasing, her husband (Luke), mom, and sister got off and chose to take the stairs to the 14th floor. However, when they arrived, there was no elevator.
After the doors shut back on the 12th floor, the elevator seemed to have malfunctioned, leaving Katie and the nurses stuck between floors. Despite calling in the fire department for aid and reaching out to the elevator company in an attempt to get the elevator up and running again, the baby came before they could be freed. Katie gave birth in the elevator with the help of the nurses and her midwife while information was given to her husband through the nurses’ walkie-talkies. By the time they were able to get the elevator doors slightly ajar, almost two hours later, Luke was able to climb down and cut the umbilical cord.
The baby boy was handed up by his father through the doors and over to nurses. The infant was deemed to be healthy and in perfect shape. Katie and Luke decided to nickname their son Otis, after the company whose elevator he was delivered in.