A couple who didn't speak English came in ready to deliver. The man kept trying to get out of the delivery room, but we kept insisting he had to stay for moral support. When the baby emerged, I turned the man's head so his eyes were on the delivery. Unfortunately, the next day I found out that he wasn't the woman's husband. He was her brother.
A mom wouldn't budge from the toilet because she felt a bowel movement coming -- a common sensation when it's time to push. I was trying to coax her back to the delivery table so the baby wouldn't land headfirst in the water. Finally she lunged for the table but ended up wedged, squatting, between the table and the wall. I didn't want the baby to hit the floor, so I had to slide under the bed on my back, like an auto mechanic changing a muffler. I finally caught the baby on a pillow.
Elan, MD, ob-gyn
St. Louis, Missouri
Distraught that baby number four was a girl -- again! -- one dad threw his hands up in the air and said, "As soon as we're leaving here, we're trying again!" The mom and I both yelled, "Oh, yeah? You'll be doing it alone then!" While I delivered the placenta, I asked a nurse to draw a diagram for him, showing how it's the sperm that actually determines gender. He was much more subdued after that.
At his wife's first delivery, a minister passed out and fell to the floor. At their second delivery, we had a chair ready to catch him. He got into it, but then he fell off. The third time around, we put some linens on the floor to break his fall. When he started to look faint, we had him get down on his hands and knees. As the baby was delivered, he threw his hands up in the air, screaming, "Hallelujah! Hallelujah!"
Edward, MD, ob-gyn
The call button went off in one of the patient bathrooms, so I rushed in to make sure the mom was okay. Standing in front of me, alone and stark naked, was her husband. He had been about to take a shower and didn't know that he had accidentally triggered the call button.
Tammy, obstetric technician
I assisted with a C-section on a mom who already had five daughters. Her ultrasounds had shown that this one was a girl too. Suddenly, out came a boy! The baby's dad was so blown away that he reached over, took off his wife's oxygen mask, and stuck it on himself.
Eager to have her baby's birth captured on film, a mom started to get pretty annoyed when her husband, who was manning the camera, got woozy and sat down. She couldn't coax him out of his daze, so she grabbed the camera and started snapping away herself -- while pushing the baby out.
West Columbia, South Carolina
A patient was having trouble pushing. Her belly was numb from the epidural so I told her to push hard enough that she could feel it in her chest. I was demonstrating so intensely that I passed gas -- really loudly. I told her, "See, if you push, things happen down there!" She laughed so hard that she ended up giving birth to her baby in hysterics.
St. Louis, Missouri
One Valentine's Day, a couple wearing very fancy clothes walked into the maternity ward. They had been on their way to get married, when the woman had suddenly gone into labor. They were very upset because they really wanted to tie the knot before the baby arrived. I asked if they had the marriage license on them, and they did. I quickly called the hospital chaplain and drafted their obstetrician as the best man. I brushed my hair, put on makeup, and became a bridesmaid. We had the wedding right there in the hospital within a half hour of their arrival, and their daughter made her appearance 10 minutes later.
A mom who was in labor with her second child insisted on holding her screaming 15-month-old throughout the delivery. Then, when it was time to push, she refused to do it unless we gave her a drink of water -- something laboring moms are not supposed to have. So she used one sip as a negotiating tool for each push.
A dad called in to inform us that his wife's water had broken. We told him to hurry to the hospital. He arrived quickly, holding a jar of her amniotic fluid. Unfortunately, he left the wife at home.
A baby waiting to be born was in a funny position -- head down but with her hand up by her head. As the doctor was checking the mom, the baby grabbed the OB's hand and would not let go!
On her way to the maternity ward, a mom stood up from her wheelchair and the baby fell right out of her body. He was just dangling from the umbilical cord. We called him the bungee-cord baby.
Copyright ? 2006. Reprinted with permission from the September 2006 issue of Parents magazine.