www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-md-earthquake-baby-20110824,0,6036185.story

baltimoresun.com

Mother delivers baby in the middle of earthquake

Baby's head had just appeared when the temblor began

By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun

8:09 PM EDT, August 24, 2011

Advertisement

She had endured 33 hours of labor when her baby's head finally appeared Tuesday afternoon.

Then the floors at Greater Baltimore Medical Center started to shake, the blinds began to sway and the medical instruments commenced clanking on the table.

She heard someone outside the delivery room shout: "Oh, my God! I think it's an earthquake!"

Jennifer, 38, freaked.

Anxious thoughts crossed her mind. Like having to evacuate the building and deliver the baby outside.

Husband Tom, 39, thought his job during the delivery would be easy. He was prepared to cut the umbilical cord, at most.

Now he worked to soothe his wife. The architectural engineer knows buildings, and his firm had designed the maternity ward where his wife was delivering.

"I was certain the building was sound and everything would be OK," he said Wednesday.

And the baby was coming — earthquake or not.

"At that point there was no going back," Jennifer said.

The Baltimore County couple declined to give their last name for publication to protect their privacy. The interview Wednesday was arranged by the hospital's public relations staff.

"We've had babies in other storms that Mother Nature has brought us," spokesman Michael Schwartzberg said. "As far as I know, this is the first baby born in an earthquake.

"On the other hand, it was another normal day for labor and delivery. You never know what will come through those doors."

Jennifer said the earthquake might have given her a little incentive to push a little harder.

Baby John was born at 8 pounds, 11 ounces less than an hour after the quake.

It wasn't until then, Jennifer said, that she finally calmed down.

"After he was totally born and I knew we didn't have to be evacuated, things got better," she said.

Tom and Jennifer decided against giving the baby an earthquake-related name. But they said they might name a teddy bear that will belong to their newborn Quake.

They're already hearing the jokes from friends, especially since John weighed so much and Jennifer is petite. Little John's birth must have caused the earthquake, one quipped.

Tom and Jennifer cuddled with their new son Wednesday, happy he survived his first earthquake.

andrea.walker@baltsun.com

twitter.com:ankwalker