Vital Signs

Unexpected delivery

Ryan Babienco, M.D., an emergency medicine resident, delivers daughter in surprise childbirth
Vital Signs » Summer 2018

As a third-year emergency medicine resident at the Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine, Ryan Babienco, M.D., has handled his fair share of childbirth deliveries. But none compare to the night he delivered his daughter, Adelyn Janae, in the bathroom of his suburban home. 

The unexpected arrival surprised his wife, Brianna, an obstetrics nurse. As Adelyn was her second child, she had already experienced a long, arduous delivery with her firstborn. She expected that Adelyn would also take her time.
“My wife had maybe one or two other spells, uneasy in the middle of the night kind of feelings, contractions that were brief. And they resolved right away,” Babienco said. “This time, it was about 1:30 in the morning. She was feeling those contractions stronger. She knew that this was the real deal.”
Since their first baby had taken more than 12 hours to deliver, Brianna went downstairs and started getting ready. She gathered things for a hospital bag and put on makeup.
“About an hour later, she woke me up to go to the hospital. I asked, ‘Do I have time to take a shower?’ She was like, ‘Oh sure, just finishing up here,” Babienco said. “I get in the shower.”
Next thing he knows, his sister-in-law, who was visiting ahead of the due date, started banging on the bathroom door. She was screaming in a panic.
“I jumped out, put a towel on, and she was yelling at me to come downstairs,” Babienco said. “I barely even dried off. I threw a pair of pants on.”
Downstairs, his wife was sitting in the bathroom and looked quite uncomfortable. He inspected the delivery’s progression. Her water hadn’t broken yet, but there was no slowing baby Adelyn.
“I look at her and she kind of screams, ‘Don’t look at me!’ I was like, ‘Honey, there’s a head coming out. I’m going to have to do something.’ Basically with every breath, gravity was doing its job,” Babienco said. “After the head popped out, her membranes finally ruptured. I basically just played catch from there. And somehow I was able to catch the baby before she went in the toilet.”
The baby was pink and healthy. She went up to her mother and started crying right away. They toweled her off. 
A lot of people have wondered how the cord was cut. But there’s no MacGyveresque tale of surgical innovation. The two live close to Kettering Medical Center, and decided to go there for safety’s sake. They wanted to avoid any unneeded complications from cutting the cord.
“We just loaded up our car, placenta in tow with baby attached, all the way to Kettering. When we got there, the look on the triage nurse’s face was hilarious,” Babienco said. “Her mouth dropped open, her eyes were huge. The other two couples in the waiting room were looking on in disbelief. I was just wheeling my wife holding our baby with an umbilical cord still attached.” 
By then, Brianna had called her obstetrician, who had let the Labor and Delivery Department know they were on their way. The care teams were familiar with her, as she worked there in the past. “It was all kind of funny because this sort of thing doesn’t happen every day,” Babienco said.
When the adrenaline of that night subsided, he had time to reflect. Babienco is sure his medical training helped with the delivery, but he wonders what role his natural instincts played. Their baby’s birth was what is known as a precipitous delivery, taking less than three hours. A normal one lasts 8 to 12 hours.
“Being a doctor, in this moment I don’t know if it necessarily helped at all. I was more a scared dad in the moment, if that makes sense. At that point, I feel like maybe my instincts as a doctor were kind of guiding my actions. I knew where to place my hands. I knew to check if the cord was around her neck, to protect from any lacerations or tears,” Babienco said. “I knew how to do all that stuff. But I wasn’t thinking about all that. I was thinking, ‘Is my wife going to be OK?’ ‘Is my baby going to be OK?’”
His family was relieved that everything turned out fine. His mother-in-law noticed that he and his wife have an awfully odd relationship with luck. One of their big stories is that they went on The Price is Right and won the final showcase. Babienco attended medical school at Loma Linda University in Southern California, and the couple was also featured on Let’s Make a Deal. 
“It’s one of those things where we have the best luck or the worst luck. There’s no middle ground,” Babienco said. “We’re not average in that regard. These bizarre things happen.”
His sister-in-law, who ran around grabbing blankets the night of Adelyn’s birth, wondered why no one got the arrival on video camera. But Babienco’s not too worried about losing the memory.
“No, no way I’ll forget it,” Babienco said. “I can already tell this little girl’s going to be trouble.”
— Daniel Kelly 
Last edited on 06/15/2018.