Most of the time, when you’re planning to have a kid, you try and map out everything to give you peace of mind and make sure nothing goes wrong. Maybe you want a hospital birth with all the drugs they can legally (and safely) give you so that you don’t feel a thing; maybe you want an at-home water birth because you heard from someone somewhere that that’s the most peaceful transition from the uterus to the world for a newborn; or maybe you want something completely different and off-the-wall, just to say that you gave birth in a totally unique way (and, you know, lord it over everyone else).
A few things you’re not planning on are giving birth while in transit; giving birth while you’re stuck somewhere, like an elevator; or giving birth when there’s a natural disaster happening all around you. Probably not good for the stress levels of mom or baby! While getting caught unaware in labor is a fairly rare thing, and you’re more likely than not gonna make it safely to wherever you’re intending to have your child, these 15 women were not so lucky, and got hit with a pretty shocking (albeit blessed) change of plans!
15. In An Elevator
Isn’t it just a kick in the pants to be in the hospital when you’re about to give birth, only to get stuck in the elevator on your way up to the maternity ward? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Katie Thacker of Tacoma, Washington in 2012. While in the elevator, Thacker was lucky enough to have a midwife and couple of nurses along with her, but her husband was outside the elevator’s doors! While husband Luke waited on the 14th floor for his pregnant wife, Thacker was stuck in between the hospital’s 12th and 14th floors. There may have been no 13th floor, but it sounds like Thacker was certainly unlucky!
Within only about 15 minutes of being trapped in the elevator, Thacker gave birth to a healthy baby boy, and mother and son had a good amount of bonding time, since maintenance was unable to pry open the elevator’s doors until about two hours later.
14. At The Mall
When you take a trip to the mall, you’re probably looking for some good deals, not to give birth to a baby! 19-year-old Chastity Davis of Michigan got a lot more than she bargained for back in 2010 when she visited the Fashion Square Mall about three weeks before her due date. Although Davis has experienced some minor contractions earlier in the day, they weren’t too intense, so she decided to visit the mall and continue on with her day.
Apparently, though, her soon-to-be-born baby just wasn’t willing to wait, and Davis ended up giving birth in front of a Sears! Thanks to the help of some strangers and good Samaritans who provided Davis with blankets for privacy and to wrap the baby in, as well as rubber gloves, Davis was able to give birth to a healthy baby boy in about half an hour–something that definitely drew a crowd! In fact, the labor was so quick that the child was born before an ambulance was even able to arrive!
13. At Disneyland
Well, this is certainly one way to make Disneyland the happiest place on earth! Disneyland must’ve been aware of the possibility that became a reality for Margarita Granados in 1984–they don’t allow pregnant women on their rides! While her husband went for a ride on Space Mountain, Granados had to stay behind. And in the time he was gone, she gave birth to a baby girl! At the time, it was only the second birth to ever happen at the theme park in its (then) 29-year run.
It must have been quite a shock for Granados’ husband, who was gone for only a few minutes on the roller coaster and came back to find himself having just become a father! Rather than giving birth in line for the ride, Granados was fortunate enough to be able to be led to a first-aid station by her husband’s uncle when the labor pains started. Talk about a thrill ride for both parties!
12. In A Limo
When you get married, you might often hope to enjoy some time together as a newlywed couple, taking trips and enjoying this new stage of your life, before you start thinking of adding children to your little family. However, if you’re getting married while pregnant, you may have recognized that that future will be sped up for you. And if you’re one unlucky woman, you realize that the time between those two life stages is even shorter!
Almost immediately following her own wedding reception, an unnamed woman gave birth to her baby right in the limo! Along with the groom (and new father), the bridesmaids also helped to aid in the delivery of the child, making a new family pretty much instantly. We don’t imagine that the rented limo service was too thrilled about the cleanup afterwards, but one look into that sweet little baby’s face, and we assume that all (or most) was forgiven.
11. Behind The Wheel Of A Car
Giving birth while in a car isn’t TOO crazy, but if you’re the driver of the said vehicle, it definitely earns you a spot on this list! Minnesota’s Amanda McBride was well aware of how much time she had when she began to go into labor in 2010, since she was already the mother of two boys. Proving a woman’s ability to multitask in pretty much any scenario, McBride drove to pick up her husband on the way to the hospital, since her husband suffers from seizures and is unable to do the driving for them.
McBride had only a moment when she realized the baby was coming, and yelled for her husband to take the wheel. Almost immediately after her water broke, the couple’s newest addition (named for McBride’s husband, Joseph) slipped right out! While still in the driver’s seat, McBride held the baby while her husband steered the car into a nearby hospital parking lot.
10. On A Train
Transportation methods seem to be a popular destination for babies in a rush to be born, like the little lady that was born on a train! In 2016, a couple weeks before she was due, Sheera Lowe was riding an Amtrak train when she realized that she was going into labor. Calmly, Lowe turned to a fellow passenger reading a book and said, “I think I’m in labor. Can you please help me?” The two made their way to the café car, where the conductor asked Lowe if she could wait to an emergency stop, but babies don’t wait for anyone, and within less than 20 minutes, Trinity Christina Lowe was born.
Since this was in February, the newborn was wrapped in paper towels and the aluminum foil meant for hot dogs to keep warm, but the sweetest part of this story is the gesture Lowe made for the passenger who helped her through the entire ordeal. As thanks for sticking by her, Lowe’s daughter’s middle name, Christina, was named after the passenger who helped her during childbirth!
9. On A Plane
The next on our list of transportation places where babies are born is a plane! While there have been several instances of women giving birth mid-flight (which is probably part of the reason that many airlines have rules about pregnant women being unable to fly in their third trimester), one woman was still able to board despite being a week away from giving birth in 2011.
The woman, Aida Alamillo, was given permission by her doctor to travel from the Philippines to the United States, and presented written documentation of this upon boarding. Once Alamillo realized that she was going into labor, three nurses on the flight were alerted, and Alamillo was moved to a private area of the plane. When the baby–born early at 35 weeks–let out his first cry, the plane’s passengers cheered, and since everyone was healthy, the plane continued its flight and landed in San Francisco as planned, where mom and son were taken to a hospital. The biggest concern after the baby’s health was determined? What the citizenship status is for a child born in the sky!
8. On A Subway Platform
A testament to the community exhibited between so many New Yorkers, Francine Afontent had to rely on the kindness of strangers when she unexpectedly went into labor on a subway platform on her way to a Manhattan hospital. While there are stories of ladies giving birth on the subway itself, Afontent was unlucky enough to have to do it right on the platform for the F train, but fortunate enough that so many people banded together to help her out! A nurse, on her way to work, comforted Afontent, while a businessman provided his briefcase as a pillow for the new mom’s head. While other strangers and subway riders gave up articles of clothing for Afontent to lie on, yet another person ran up the street to get the attention of paramedics and firemen. A witness, who held Afontent’s hand throughout the labor, said that people from all the trains stopped to help the woman. “You can’t tell me New Yorkers don’t care,” she said afterwards.
7. In A McDonald’s Bathroom
Would you like fries with your new baby? In arguably one of the ickiest places to give birth, Shardonnay Hill was just on her way to a routine doctor’s appointment when she was six months along in 2013, only to find herself unexpectedly going into early labor in a McDonald’s bathroom in Florida!
Hill, realizing exactly what was happening, was on the phone with a 911 operator. But after only five minutes of conversation, her baby boy was born! McDonald’s employees assisted Hill in the birth, which we imagine certainly livened up their regular workday, and although the child was born three months premature, mom and staffers were able to start his breathing before the paramedics arrived, owing to the direction of the emergency dispatcher. According to Hill’s aunt, while the baby was named Joshua, his nickname, due to his strange birth situation, will be Ronald McDonald! A Happy Meal, indeed!
6. In A Subway
Perhaps next to transportation, fast food restaurants are a popular destination for babies who simply can’t wait to get out and see the world! The woman, who was unnamed, burst into a Subway in 2013, yelling that she was going into labor, which caused the restaurant’s sandwich artists to spring into action, laying garbage bags and sandwich wrappers down on the floor for sanitation. According to the store’s assistant manager, Flora Vargas, the baby was already crowning by the time the mother was on the floor, and it only took a couple of minutes for the child to be born entirely!
Fortunately for the employees and the mother, it was early in the day, and while the restaurant was open, there were no customers inside, which allowed the unlikely group some privacy. While Vargas and her boss were able to assist in the delivery of the healthy baby boy, Vargas suggested employees be trained in helping to deliver babies, and judging by this list, it’s really not a bad idea!
5. At A Strip Club
Get your head out of the gutter! Unfortunately for amusement’s sake, this crazy birth story was not a case of an exotic dancer actually giving birth while on stage, but instead, involves a woman in the parking lot of a Tennessee strip club suddenly giving birth in the back of a taxi on the way to the hospital! (Wonder what the cleanup fee is for that?)
This isn’t a seedy story and the pregnant woman was not trying to find her husband in a strip club. Instead, while the couple was on their way to the hospital, their baby decided it couldn’t wait any longer, so they were forced to pull over into the strip club’s parking lot. It was about 8 o’clock in the morning for the couple that quickly became a family, and the cab driver (who also happened to be the husband) assisted in the birth of his newborn daughter with the help of a 911 dispatcher.
4. On An NYC Street Corner
It was nicknamed “Miracle on 68th Street,” and it couldn’t be a more apt description for the unexpected birth that happened on a New York City street corner! In 2014, Polly McCourt was in her apartment building when she realized that she was in labor, so naturally, she headed downstairs to get her butt to a hospital. Like the other babies on this list, though, McCourt’s daughter decided that she wanted to come NOW, and after her water broke in the building’s foyer, she sat down in the street and, with the help of her doorman, gave birth right there!
Demonstrating yet again the community mindedness of New Yorkers, multiple passersby offered their help and their clothing to keep mother and baby warm while they waited for an ambulance and, like the woman who gave birth on a train, McCourt gave her daughter her middle name after a particularly kind stranger who offered the coat off her back!
3. On A Lifeboat
Well, that’s what you get for living on an island! Scottish couple Junelle and Stuart Wilson were living on the island of Mull when, in 2009, Junelle went into labor. Since there were no roads to take the couple to the hospital and it was 11:30 at night with no ferries running, a lifeboat arrived to transport them but their infant son wasn’t waiting any longer! Fortunately, the couple was also with their midwife, and the healthy baby boy was born when they were just a mere five minutes away from docking. Junelle said afterwards that this birth, unlike her first, was much easier (and undoubtedly quicker), and that she found the vibrations of the sea soothing. With that being said, only time will tell if her baby takes to water like a fish!
2. In An Art Gallery
There’s performance art and then there’s giving birth in a gallery and calling it art. For whatever reason, Marni Kotak was in the latter. As part of a live exhibition in 2011, Kotak invited about 20 guests, including family, friends, and selected strangers to witness her “Art” titled “The Birth of Baby X” in Brooklyn’s Microscope Gallery.
The gallery was actually transformed into a temporary birthing center, complete with birthing pool, and the whole performance was extremely controversial, with many saying that Kotak was exploiting her child (who was named Ajax) without him being old enough to realize it. Since that exhibition, Kotak has continued to use her young son in her art, and created various performances involving him, including “Raising Baby X” (2011-ongoing), “Raising Baby X: Playtime!” (2013), and “Raising Baby X: Little Brother” (2012-ongoing), the latter of which sounds like baby Ajax won’t be alone in the continued parading of his life for the sake of “art.”
1. In A Tree
You’re probably wondering how the hell it’s even possible for a woman to give birth in a tree, but let us tell you that not only is it possible, but it actually happened and the story is crazy! Due to the rising floodwaters in Mozambique in 2000, super-mom Sofia Pedro had to climb up a tree to escape. She ended up giving birth to her baby daughter! Oh, and not only that, but she had been up there for three days! Having scaled the tree on a Sunday, it was a Wednesday when Pedro began to experience labor pains. Luckily, Pedro was spotted by a South African helicopter crew as she clung to the branches, and they were able to help her finish delivering the baby and use a winch to bring both mother and daughter to.
While both were doing well, Pedro’s ordeal garnered a lot of attention (and rightly so). For her part, the exhausted new mother only had a few words to say, “I’m so happy.”