As a labor and delivery nurse in the Family Birthing Center at Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge, Megan Whaley, RN, FNP, knows a thing or two about childbirth. She has 11 years of experience and two boys of her own, but her delivery skills were put to the test on March 21 when the family’s newest addition made a dramatic entrance.
Megan was two days overdue and had been experiencing gradual contractions, but her previous labors had been hours-long and she was sure she had plenty of time. But as the morning went on her contractions got stronger, so she called her husband David who was at work in Lenoir City.
“She didn’t seem panicked in the first phone call,” remembered David. “I was at work in a meeting and an hour away. We thought we’d be fine, but then she called back and said we need an ambulance.”
“By 10 a.m. I knew I wasn’t going to make it to the hospital,” said Megan who recalls the overwhelming need to push that signaled her impending delivery.
At her home in Oliver Springs with no one but her 3-year-old son, Deegan, Megan had to rely on everything she knew about labor and delivery.
“I got towels and laid down on the floor of our bathroom. When I sat down, Deegan got a juice box for me and asked if I wanted to watch Paw Patrol… I drank a little bit of the juice and he grinned.”
Deegan went back to his show and Megan began the process of bringing her third child into the world. Running on adrenaline and years of experience, Megan let her body take over and do what it knew to do, bringing her nursing skills into play as needed.
“The head came out and I checked for the cord because that’s what we always do,” said Megan. “But I was scared when I thought I couldn’t get the rest of the body out.”
But the delivery was successful and she was soon holding her newborn baby girl—another surprise for a family dominated by boys.
“We hadn’t found out if we were having a boy or a girl. I checked three times that she was a girl.”
David was in the driveway when Megan called him to say she’d delivered the baby. “I could hear the baby crying,” said David.
With the sound of the cries, Deegan came back into the bathroom and exclaimed, “It’s a baby!”
And there David found them, Megan sitting on the bathroom floor holding their baby. She looked at him and said “It’s a girl.”
She had wanted the gender to be a surprise. She’d seen the thrill of it in her job as a labor and delivery nurse. “There’s an extra layer of anticipation in the room when they don’t know,” explained Megan. However, the surprises and layers of anticipation may have been more than anyone bargained for.
Emery Patrice Whaley made her grand entrance at 10:31 a.m., weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 oz. and 20.5 inches long. Ten minutes after delivering, the ambulance arrived and while David just missed the delivery, he was able to cut the umbilical cord. As for Deegan, he got to see the fire truck.
Megan and Emery were taken to Methodist’s Family Birthing Center for follow-up care and excited greetings from her co-workers. But the healthy mom and baby were soon on their way home with two big brothers and a proud father and husband. After all, it’s not every woman who can play the dual role of a mother in labor and delivery nurse.
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