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Pruitt couple delivers baby in middle of road on way to hospital

Little Brynlynn just could not wait!

Zach & Christina showoff their new baby, Brynlynn River Grace Pruitt for Clarion photographer, Donn Wimmer.


Zachary & Christina Pruitt’s daughter, Brynlynn, was determined to be born on Monday, August 28th it seems. The two found themselves birthing and delivering the baby together, all alone on the side of the road at around 4 a.m. before having a chance to make it to Deaconess Women’s Hospital in Evansville.

Brynlynn River Grace Pruitt was born healthy, weighing 8 pounds and 11 ounces. “She’s doin’ wonderful,” Christina said, when a Clarion reporter talked to her on Monday afternoon while she and Zach were at Deaconess Hospital, and still reeling from the unexpected birthing experience.

Christina had gone into labor at their home in Easton at almost midnight on Sunday, August 27th. “We’ve been getting ready for the baby,” she said. “My contractions were about 4 or 5 minutes apart. I just decided to time it for a little bit and see how they were going.

They stayed pretty consistent and didn’t go away so we got ahold of the doctor and decided to get in the car and head towards Evansville. My water broke right before the bridge in Owensboro. When we were crossing the bridge, there was just no stoppin’ it; she was coming. We made it about a mile past the bridge and stopped at a construction site. There was a stoplight right there. We called 911 at 4:32 a.m. and she was born at 4:35 a.m.

I originally called 911 and I was still having contractions so I gave my husband the phone and he was on with the 911 lady trying to tell her our location, etc. I was in labor the whole time. He said I was screaming, wailing and moaning – typical labor stuff, but he got out of the car and I told him, ‘Will you come here? The head is out.’

He came to our side (front passenger side) and saw that the head was out and that’s when the reality set in that this baby is going to be born right now, on the road, in the middle of nowhere. I think I pushed 3 times and she was out. About 5 minutes after she was born, the first cop showed up and about 10 minutes after she was born, the EMTs (from Evansville) showed up.

I’m very proud of him (Zach). It was his first baby so he’s never been through any of this before. He handled it pretty well. He didn’t let her hit the floor, he grabbed her and we unwrapped the cord from her neck, he put her up on my belly and he got a blanket and made sure we were all good until the EMTs got there. It was pretty smooth. There were no complications; Thank God.”

Zach told the story from his perspective. “It all started when she woke me up,” he said. “She was tracking her contractions and she had it all put into the notes in her phone. She shoved her phone in my face and said, ‘Hey, look at this! All of these contractions are within 3 to 5 minutes of each other.’ I said, ‘We’ve got to do something now.’ This was like 3 o’clock in the morning, so we jumped up and started getting the car packed. I even threw the dog in the car because we expected to be more than a couple of days and we live so far out that I couldn’t just leave him there. We packed up the dog and 3 day’s worth of clothes and everything real quick and then we were out the door and ready to go.

I was trying not to speed, but I was really trying to get where we were going and by the time we got to Owensboro, she was in really active labor. She kept telling me, ‘Hey, I don’t know if we should go to Owensboro Hospital or Evansville.’ I kept thinking in my head, ‘I don’t know if I’m going to be delivering on the side of the road or not.’ So I just gassed it and I’m trying to really get through town and I’m getting real nervous and I was just trying to calm her down and tell her to remain calm and breathe. I’m trying to work her through it, while driving.

Tension was high and right when we were getting ready to turn to go over the bridge toward Rio, her water broke. She started going into real life, right now type labor. She was telling me, ‘Hey, I can feel her head coming out right now.’ That’s when I gassed it. I was on the home stretch, is what I thought. I didn’t realize how far we were from Evansville. I’m kind of new to the area so I said, ‘We’re almost there. I’m gonna get us there.’ And, then we stopped at this construction site stoplight and that’s when she said, ‘I can feel her head coming out right now. We need to do something.’

I threw the car in park. She called 911. They answered and said, ‘What’s your emergency?’ and she went right into a contraction and threw the phone at me. So I’m trying to tell them where we are, not really knowing exactly where I’m at and she’s screaming at me telling me the baby’s head is coming out, so I’m screamin’ back at the 911 operator and she’s trying to pull me in and show me what’s goin’ on and I’m trying to get away from her so I can tell them where we are real quick.

Finally, she’s like, ‘You need to get over here, NOW!’ So, I ran around the other side of the car and we’re right there in the middle of the road stopped at the light. I threw the phone on top of the car and I bent down, and in that moment it hit me. I knew that this was going to have to be right here, right now because Brynlynn’s head was just hanging there. I grabbed on to her head with my right hand and as soon as I relieved the pressure from her hanging out, I got one tug and she just slipped right out and fell into my other hand.

Christina took care of the cord that was around her neck and I flipped her around and put her on Christina’s belly and I said, ‘I don’t know what to do,’ to the 911 operator. She guided me through it. Thank God for that lady. She really made my life a lot easier because without her I would not have known what to do at all. She asked if the baby was making noise, so we got Brynlynn to make noise by patting her on the back and rubbing her firmly. She started crying and I’m like, ‘Thank God! She’s alive and everything is good.’

We needed to get her so she could breathe, so I asked the lady, ‘How do I do that?’ And dispatch told me to get a towel or a cover, so I got a cover real quick and ran back around and we wiped her up good and everything and by the time we got her breathing and she was making noise and all that, I looked up and the police officer is within seeing distance. He arrived there and that was the end of the 911 call. He came over and he was like, ‘How we doin’, Man?’ And, I’m like, ‘I’m over here deliverin’ babies, Man.’ I didn’t know what to tell him.

He came over with the flashlight and secured the area. We were pulled over on the other lane but we were right there in the middle of the road. There was no traffic at that time. It was 4:30 in the morning. By the time we were out of there, there was traffic backed up.”

The ambulance came and Zach said they handled everything very professionally. “I can’t thank them enough,” he said. “I’ve never had an experience that was that good by first responders, ever. I told the police officer I had a dog in the car and he said, ‘Well, you kind of need to go.’ I cracked the back window and locked the car and put the keys under the wheel well and called my mother and told her I had just delivered the baby. She said, ‘What?! O.k. I’m on my way right now. Where are you at?’ So my mother was frantically on her way.

I hopped in the ambulance and we took off. We passed my mother on the highway as we were getting to Evansville. She ended up getting the dog out of the car and taking it back to her house. Just a few hours later, around noon, I went back and got the car. My mother was there (at the hospital) with us all morning and she took me to get the car.”

The couple and baby Brynlynn are now settling in at their home in Hancock County. It’s always a very challenging first week with a new baby, and this pair deserves some extra rest after all they’ve been through. They are thankful and overjoyed about the blessing of their new daughter – that she is healthy and they are safe at home. It’s time for basking in the joy of their new bundle and getting cozy at home now.

By Jennifer Wimmer

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