Mother gives birth outside of hospital, father uses face mask to tie umbilical cord

Janelle Griffith

Sarah Rose and David Patrick knew they would be required to wear masks at the hospital during the delivery of their son, but they never imagined that they would use one to bind his umbilical cord.

They also never pictured being out in the cold when they welcomed their son. Yet that was their reality over Mother's Day weekend.

Sarah Rose Patrick went into labor more than a week before her May 17 due date.

"She wakes me up at 1 a.m. Saturday and says that she has been pacing on the bedroom and bathroom floor for the past few hours," David Patrick said in a phone interview Friday.

Sarah and David Patrick with their son Navi, who was born on May 9. (Courtesy of the Patrick family)

She also told him the contractions were occurring more frequently and that they needed to go see their doctor. They left their children, 3-year-old Hadassah and 1-year-old Asher, with their paternal grandparents and quickly went to Baptist Health Louisville.

When they arrived at the facility, both in masks, they tried to enter the labor and delivery unit, David Patrick said, but they were met with locked doors.

"The first doors opened," he said. "The second set were locked."

They tried another entrance but it was also locked.

"I tell my wife, 'We need to just go back to the car and go to the emergency room because we know they'll be open,'" David Patrick said.

Before they could make it to the car, her water broke.

"It was 30 or 40 degrees," she said, "the coldest night we have had in a while."

The couple were in the middle of the street on pavement, David Patrick said. His wife had nearly collapsed.

"She sits down and then lays down in fetal position in the street," he said.

He called 911 and a dispatcher told him an ambulance was being sent.

David Patrick said he put his phone on speaker to keep his hands free and take direction from the dispatcher until the ambulance arrived.

But the baby came first.

Sarah Rose Patrick screamed in pain.

"I'm a financial educator, I'm not a doctor, so I don't know a good scream from a painful scream," David Patrick said.

The dispatcher instructed him to remove his wife's pants. "My wife, in between screams, says: 'Please no,'" he said.

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But the dispatcher told them that if the baby is coming, they need to clear a path for him. David Patrick quickly stripped off his wife's pants to find the top of his son's head.

About 15 seconds later, the rest of his son's head came out.

"I said to the dispatcher, 'I see my son’s head," he recalled Friday. "In 5 or 10 seconds, the rest of his body slips out like a wet fish."

The 911 dispatcher then directed him to wipe the baby's face and mouth.

"I was glad I didn't have my head turned," he said. "This came on extremely unexpectedly."

After the baby was born, he handed him to his wife. David Patrick said he took off his leather jacket to keep their son, who they named Navi, and his wife, who was coatless, warm.

The dispatcher then told him to bind the umbilical cord. He rummaged through his wife's overnight bag but could not find one of the masks his grandmother had knitted for them to protect against the spread of the coronavirus.

Sarah Rose Patrick took her mask off and handed it to her husband, who used it to tie off the umbilical cord. By that time, the ambulance arrived, as did nurses from Baptist Health Louisville who took the family inside the hospital they could not enter earlier.

Sarah Rose Patrick, who turned 36 on Monday, said she believes this will be their last child. And she is certain last weekend will go down as the mother of all weekends.