Readers share their due-date drama
In "Due Date," opening today, Robert Downey Jr. comically races across the country to get to his wife's side in time for the birth of their child.
For expectant moms and dads, the race to the hospital can be scary at the time, but later offers a great story to be retold again and again.
We asked readers to share their tales of getting to the hospital on time and promised one participant would receive a $50 gift card. Diane Rinier of Jeannette is the winner.
Here are highlights from some of the stories we received:
When my husband and I went to the local hospital to deliver our daughter, it was after midnight. At the emergency door, there was a lighted buzzer people are supposed to push at night for someone to open the door. The light was out and we didn't see it, so we started pounding on the door since the contractions were close and our first child had come fast. The people inside just looked at us and didn't budge, so my husband took the whole sliding door off the hinge to get us in. They called him the Hulk after that.
— Diane Rinier, Jeannette
When my daughter was due, I started to feel back spasms so I called my husband home from work. About halfway to the hospital my water broke and, oh boy, now I was in labor. My husband stopped for a bus flashing its yellow warning lights. Normally, I am in favor of stopping for yellow lights, but not when I am in full labor and my contractions are one right after another. I shouted for him to go around the bus. He said a policeman might pull us over. I told him through gritted teeth then we would have a police escort and he had better move it NOW.
He asked me if I wanted him to pull over and he would deliver the baby. Slowly I turned to fully face him and, with a look that would kill a cat of all nine lives, I told him he just better get around the bus and to the hospital NOW. He went around the bus. We whipped into the parking lot, and I waddled into the hospital's main lobby.
My husband asked the nice lady at the desk where the OB department was located. She looked at me, stammered, "I, I, I forget. But there's a wheelchair right there." My husband got the wheelchair, and we waited for what seemed to me to be an exorbitant amount of time at the elevator before finally arriving at the OB department. Our daughter was born six minutes later.
— Martha Loeffert, Gibsonia
Just hours after my doctor told me I had at least eight weeks until my baby would arrive, I went into labor. I called my doc, who thought it was false labor but advised going to the hospital just in case. We got as far as Magee's parking lot when I realized the baby was coming, ready or not. My husband, Bob, ditched the car in the tow-away zone, and we entered the hospital as the parking attendant screamed, "You can't park there!"
I distinctly recall one of the nurses barking, "How many?" I said, "How many what?" She replied, "How many babies have you had?" I answered, "This is my first," to which she yelled, "Next time don't wait so long!"
Our son was born in a matter of minutes. Bob got to meet Justin, then ran out to move the car. Many of my friends asked if we chose the name, Justin, because we arrived at the hospital Just-in time. Truth be told, we had the named picked out in advance, but 15 years later we're still talking about the adventure. Every time I read about a woman giving birth in a car on the way to a hospital, I think that could have been me.
— Chris Crytzer, Robinson
In the summer of 1965, my husband, Nick, and I were waiting the birth of our first child. Nick was working at a neighborhood grocery store and delivered orders before coming home for dinner. He had his boss' car, and just before he got home my water broke. Being young and scared, we jumped in the boss' car and headed for Mercy Hospital from our home in Hays.
At the Parkway ramp, city police were pulling over cars to check registration and license -- we were number 10 or 11. All I could think of is, "It's not our car. What are we going to do?" My husband jumped out of the car, running down the road yelling "MY WIFE'S HAVING A BABY!" The policeman came running, stuck his head in the window and said "Are you having a baby?" With a big belly and in tears, all I could do is nod my head. He said, "Get out of here," and we were on our way. Our first son was born at 8:15 p.m. that evening. I still laugh at how scared we were.
— Nancy Jo Lauso, Pittsburgh
My wife, Ruth, and I were expecting our second child. It was on the morning of Labor Day, Sept. 4, 1972. Ruth was making pancakes for me and our son Rick when her water broke. I called her mother, and she didn't believe me that the baby was coming, because it was Labor Day and she thought it was a joke.
On the way to West Penn Hospital, we got on the Parkway at Monroeville, and my wife was in a lot of pain. We saw a state trooper on the side of the road, and I stopped to ask for assistance. He preceded to lead us into Squirrel Hill and stopped in front of Allderdice High School. We stopped and he asked us where West Penn Hospital was! From there, we preceded with me driving in front and him driving behind me with flashing lights.
We got the hospital in time, and our son Raymond was born at 5:17 p.m.
— Ron Berrott, Pittsburgh
The C-section was scheduled for April 20 at Magee Womens Hospital. When my water broke on April 19, I called my husband. With bags already packed in anticipation of the scheduled delivery the following day and while making our way to the car, we were spotted by a Mt. Lebanon neighbor, a U.S. postal employee driving by in his truck.
"Turn on your flashers and follow me" he instructed. "They never stop a mail truck!"
At a high rate of speed, we maneuvered Banksville Road, the Parkway West, the Fort Pitt Tunnels, and the Parkway East until the truck and its driver -- with a honk and a "thumbs-up" wave -- exited at Grant Street. We slowed for the remainder of the trip, arriving at the hospital in record time.
— Kathryn L. Jacobs Gerhart
I was 7 1/2 months pregnant when I woke with cramps about 2 a.m. I called my obstetrician who told me to come into the hospital. I was packing a bag when my husband said, "Don't worry, they'll probably just give you a shot and send you home."
We headed to Shadyside Hospital, turned down a street and encountered a roadblock. We backed up and turned down another street, another roadblock. By this time my teeth were grinding so much that I was losing enamel. Another turn and another roadblock. What was going on• We finally figured it out. This was the weekend of the Shadyside Arts Festival.
After what seemed like forever and a few choice "endearments" to my husband, he finally found a street that was open, and we made it to the hospital. There was not much time to spare. We took the elevator to the fifth floor at 4 a.m. At 6:01 a.m., Nathan William Boles was born. Even though he was 6 weeks early, he was 6 pounds, 1 ounce.
— Cynthia Boles, Pittsburgh
My first two deliveries were uneventful, but my last two were anything but! My third child came unexpectedly one month early in January 2007. I had been ignoring what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions for nearly two hours. When I realized the contractions were coming regularly, we drove back to my parents' house in Upper Burrell to check on the kids. As soon as we got there my water broke, so we left and went straight to West Penn Hospital. As we were driving through Pittsburgh, my husband just kept saying "Please don't have the baby here!"
By the time we got there, it was after 9 p.m., and I was 9 centimeters dilated. To make matters worse, I had tested positive for Group B strep, and I wasn't allowed to push until I had been given penicillin! Our son was born with one push at 9:46 p.m.
— Melanie Bowser, Leechburg
The biggest snowstorm to hit our area in 17 years had just passed through a few days before, and my husband and I counted ourselves lucky that our little bundle of joy decided to stay put. She was due on Feb 11, but around 2 a.m. Feb 9, I was in labor. We called the doctor, and I was told to come to the hospital to get checked out but not to rush because the doctor did not think I was in active labor yet. We live in Arnold and had to get to Magee, which on a normal day takes around 45 minutes, but with the snow everywhere it took longer than normal.
On Route 28, my contractions got worse and, as we got off the Highland Park Bridge exit, we made a wrong turn. My husband tried to turn around, and we ended up stuck in a snowbank for a good 10 to 15 minutes. I was terrified he would be forced to deliver our daughter in the back seat.
Around 3 a.m., we reached the hospital, but I was only dilated 2 to 3 centimeters. The nurses told me I could stay at the hospital to see if I progressed or I could go home and come back to get checked out later.
Frustrated, we left and on the way home got stuck two more times. I was still having contractions but I did as the nurses said and called my OB to see if they had any openings later that day. They said to go back to the hospital at noon to get checked again. We headed back to the hospital again.
Finally, around 8:45 p.m. I was told it was time to push. But the doctor said it could take around two more hours. I thought to myself, "Hell no, am I pushing for two hours!" So I pushed with all my might and Peyton Riley Murray was out within a half hour. She weighed 9 pounds, 4 ounces.
— Renee Murray, Arnold