Melanie Kruchten’s recent emergency home birth on the front lawn of her Wheaton, Ill., home demonstrates the importance of having good relationships with neighbors.
Kruchten, 33, was walking to the car with her husband Brian, 37, expecting to head to the hospital for the birth of their third child. Suddenly, Melanie realized she wasn’t going to make it to the hospital.
She told the Wheaton Patch, “After I walked down the front step, I dropped to my hands and knees in the grass. And I told my husband to call 911.”
She also asked him to get their neighbor, Odily De Souza, a labor and delivery nurse. De Souza’s mother answered the door and told Brian that the nurse was sleeping.
“I was screaming to my husband to get back over to me. He did run back over to me and I screamed to Odily’s mom, ‘Wake her up,’” Melanie said.
In the minutes that followed, Brian called 911, while Melanie called and left a message for her mother.
“My husband literally caught the baby,” Melanie said.
Normally at this point in a surprise birth story, everyone breathes a sigh of relief and laughs about the unusual circumstances and location of the baby’s arrival. But suddenly, this birth on the front lawn turned into a serious medical emergency when the baby turned blue.
“She was not really breathing well, and then there was no sound,” Melanie said. “Our incredible neighbor came running out. She grabbed the baby from my husband immediately.”
The police, fire department, and first responders arrived, but none of them had a birthing kit, which was what the struggling newborn needed.
“Odily has a 5-month-old daughter, ran home and grabbed her bulb syringe and then ran back over and suctioned Lucy,” Melanie said. The nurse also used a shoelace from Brian’s shoe to clamp the umbilical cord, since first responders also didn’t have equipment to do that.
Because of conversations the neighbors have had in recent months, Odily knew that Melanie had a blood disorder that needed special medical attention.
“Because of that, she knew that I needed to be closely monitored because of my platelet disorder,” Melanie said. “She also knew that I should not deliver the placenta without my doctor.”
Melanie and the baby—named Lucy—were taken by ambulance to the hospital where both checked out fine.
“Overall, she was just perfect,” Melanie said. She credited Odily with saving Lucy’s life.
“Despite the chaotic circumstances, and the fact that we basically woke her from a dead sleep, she was so calm and thought on the spot to run and get her bulb syringe,” Melanie said. “(Lucy) had quite a bit of fluid in her lungs. She couldn’t get that first breath on her own.”
Melanie and her doctor both quipped that the paperwork for the birth was a little tricky.
“There was no option for ‘born in your front lawn,’” Melanie said.