Woman Evacuates During California Wildfires...While in Labor
Talk about a dramatic birth story! This woman was in labor when California wildfires forced her to evacuate the hospital.
Finally, Velum was sent to Sutter Santa Rosa Hospital to be induced. The induction attempt failed, as did the next one. Finally, on the third try, the team was able to successfully induce her labor, and everything appeared to be going well.
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But nothing could prepare her for what came next.
According to a report from NPR, Veum had finally found her rhythm and was well on her way to delivering when the hospital’s power cut out and smoke began rising outside the building. The California wildfires had struck, and everyone had to evacuate the hospital right away—including Veum, who had already taken an epidural.
As anyone who has ever given birth with an epidural probably knows, the medication numbs you from the waist down—which makes getting up and hurrying out of the hospital not quite in the cards! Still, this woman had no choice but to leave. They gave her additional medication to stop the contractions as she waited for an ambulance to transport her. She escaped in an ambulance with another woman who was in labor and new mom with her newborn. There was no room for her husband.
"The charge nurse explained that 'This is a disaster. We're following disaster protocol and no spouses or birth teams or anything are going along on the ambulance,'" her husband, Ben Veum, told NPR. "And there was a part of me briefly that was like 'but I'm a dad. I'm going to be a dad. This is us.'"
The good news? Veum gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Adrian, via C-section.
Isn’t this a crazy birth story? Veum is not the first mama to deliver during a disaster—we’ve heard of women going into labor during catastrophic events (like this woman who delivered during Hurricane Harvey or the women who have given birth in blizzard conditions). Still, this story is pretty epic. And hey, if there’s anything that can make those chaotic days of early parenthood feel less stressful by comparison, it’s a birth story like this one, right?