Special delivery: Manchester couple delivers baby at Md. 27 intersection in pickup truck

Denise and Bill Riggin of Manchester delivered their second child, Juliana, in the front seat of their Toyota Tundra on the side of the road after Denise suddenly went into labor Feb. 20. Juliana, now three weeks old, weighed 8-pounds, 3 ounces at birth, and is doing great with her older sister Isabella.

When Denise Riggin woke up late one night in February, she thought she had a “really upset stomach.”

And when the Manchester mom, who was pregnant, began having serious contractions, she thought the time had come. But Denise had no idea how quickly things would progress, and what was ahead.


Denise, after having to be induced for her first child, was already scheduled to have her second baby induced after she was a few days overdue.

But Juliana, who was born Feb. 20 in the family’s Toyota Tundra pickup truck, had other plans.

She was born at the intersection of Albert Rill Road and Md. 27 in Manchester and was delivered by her mother and father.

“With her older sister, I had to be induced so that’s what I was expecting, and we scheduled for me to be induced Wednesday, the 21st,” Denise said.

“Everybody thought she wasn’t going to come … and then she came very, very fast,” Denise added, laughing.

Denise said while she’d been having a few contractions on and off, nothing ever became strong or regular. It wasn’t until she woke up in the middle of the night and began to have “horrible contractions,” that she knew it was it was time.

But when her water broke and it had meconium — a infant’s first stool — in it, Denise said she and her husband, Bill Riggin, got scared.

“I was panicking even more, my husband was panicking, we didn’t know what to do,” she said. “And I kept saying ‘I feel like I’m having the baby right now,’ but I kept thinking that I was being dramatic because I hadn’t experienced real labor with my first [child because] I had to be induced.”

Denise got downstairs and was yelling for Bill to get a tarp for his truck. They got in the vehicle, but didn’t even make it to Md. 27 — just a few minutes from where they live — before Juliana made her entrance.

“We got maybe 3 minutes down the road and I said she’s coming out,” she said, adding that her husband told her to try not to push and to try to calm down. “Maybe a minute later I’m yelling ‘the head is out.’”

Bill pulled the truck over, ran to the passenger side and pulled down his wife’s pants where he saw Juliana’s head “and just reacted.”

“It was out of this world,” Denise added.

The Riggins, Denise, Bill, Isabella and newborn Juliana are pictured.
The Riggins, Denise, Bill, Isabella and newborn Juliana are pictured. (Courtesy photo)

And while now it’s an incredible birth story, in the moment, she said, it was scary.

The umbilical cord was wrapped around Juliana’s neck. Denise immediately slipped it around her head as Bill scooped meconium and fluid out of the infant’s mouth.


But Juliana wasn’t crying.

“She wasn’t breathing, we had to throw her over and do some back blows,” Denise explained. “It was a really horrible minute but it felt like forever until she started coughing and crying.”

Denise, an X-ray technician, and Bill, a surgical technician, had a bit of background medical knowledge, and also had read the books preparing for childbirth, something that helped in the moment. But as the incident occurred, a lot of instinct took over.

Denise said they didn’t even talk about what needed to be done — they just started working.

Immediately, Denise pulled up her shirt and put Juliana on her chest, using a towel to rub her and get her warm. She and her husband took off again for the hospital before the 911 dispatcher who they had on the phone told them to pull over and wait for the ambulance, which took her to Carroll Hospital.

As they waited, the 911 operator told them they needed to clamp off the umbical cord, which, until then, Denise had been squeezing in her hand. Bill took his shoelace out of his shoe and used it to tie the cord off.

“We just did it. I don’t know how,” she said.

Juliana was cyanotic, due to a lack of oxygen, but she was otherwise OK, her mother said.

In the weeks that have passed, Juliana continues to grow and thrive. Denise said her oldest daughter, Isabella, who will turn 3 in April, is “doing fantastic with her,” adding it’s gone much better than she expected.

And for Juliana, the baby that couldn’t wait to meet her family, life continues to be good.

“She’s just super healthy and growing fast and [has] an insatiable appetite,” Denise said, “so we're very lucky after all that.”