“Don’t deliver babies in the back of an ambulance” they say on the first day of EMT school.
“Either at the patient’s home, or the hospital,” they say.
“Make sure you can make it all the way to the hospital before the patient delivers.”
I’ve been a pretty good judge of impending delivery so far in my career. I’ve assisted deliveries in bedrooms, on couches, in a shower, in the back of a minivan on the side of the interstate in rush hour traffic, and even in a doctor’s office, much to the consternation of the office staff. But never in the back of an ambulance.
“How far along are you, and when is your due date?”
“36 OHMYGODITHURTS weeks!”
“How far apart are your contractions?”
“They are about 5 minutes apart, and they last 30 seconds” says the husband, who does not appear to be in as much pain as his hypergravid wife, who is not crowning during her contractions, as reported by the husband and EMTs on scene.
Hospital is 10 minutes away, plus 5 minutes to make it to the labor and delivery floor, and contractions are 5 minutes apart? We’ve got time. Plenty of time.
“Ma’am, we are going to lift you up and put you on this stretcher, so we can get you to the hospital, okay?”
So demanding, this patient.
“Y’all need a rider on the way to the hospital?” asks the officer on the fire truck.
“I think we will make it, but if you want to send someone, that would be okay with me.”
Of course they give me the kid who just graduated middle school.
“OHGODINEEDTOPUSH!” screams the patient 3 minutes into our 10 minute transport time.
“We are almost there, ma’am, don’t worry.” is my reply. Holy cow that’s a high blood pressure. Let’s retake that…
“Uh, I think you need to look at this” says the prepubescent boy with the fire department patch.
Holy shit, she’s crowning! NO! That’s not crowning! That’s a forehead!
Sticking my head through the window to the front of the ambulance, I report to Slimm; “Hey, I either need you to pull over, glove up and get back here now, or get me to the hospital 5 minutes ago.”
He prefers to drive.
The delivery was uncomplicated. A beautiful, pink baby boy with APGARs of 8 and 9.
The clean-up of the ambulance was not uncomplicated.
I don’t think the fireman will ever be the same, either.
“Home or hospital, never in the ambulance” they say.