Harrison takes Lititz by storm
There are two things that worry an expectant mother during her pregnancy &tstr; the health of her unborn child and the fear of being at the wrong place at the wrong time when the little one decides it’s go time.
Clean up in aisle five?
Coming in a close third is hearing horror stories of labor and birth during pregnancy.
So naturally, at eight months pregnant myself, I was assigned to write an article about a family from outside of Brickerville who was faced with every obstacle imaginable during the birth of their second child on Jan. 21.
However, what I thought was going to be a frightening and gory tale of labor and delivery, turned out to be an inspirational story of an expectant mother whose calm and collective demeanor and super strength through a very unexpected delivery made her look like supermom.
On Tuesday morning of last week, Lancaster County woke up to a rash of bad weather predictions, high winds, low temperatures and hazardous road conditions.
Ashley Martin woke up to what she believed to be false contractions. At 38 weeks pregnant, she was used to having contractions and discomfort due to early labor at 33 weeks. Doctors prescribed her medication to slow the process and allow her unborn son to stay in the womb until she reached full term at 37 weeks.
Early that Tuesday morning, Ashley warned her husband, Travis, as he was getting ready to leave for work, that he may not be there too long.
“Things were starting and stopping so much, I hated to ask Travis to stay home,” said Ashley as she recalled that morning. So she sent him off to work. But things just didn’t feel right.
“She ended up calling me at 7:30 a.m. and said ‘You need to get home.” said Travis.
“I wasn’t feeling well enough to get my son Cole awake and dressed and give him breakfast,” said Ashley. “I told Travis to come home around 8 a.m. and help with Cole and decide together if we were going to go in or wait because of the snow, and feel out how things were going for me.”
Travis returned home and Ashley still was not having major signs of labor. She was able to talk through her contractions and her water hadn’t broke. But she knew it was progressing.
“Travis wanted to take a shower, and I said, ‘No, I don’t think we have time for that.’ Before we left, I had a couple big contractions and I was feeling some pressure. And I said, ‘I’m starting to get a little worried. We really really need to go.”
They dropped their son Cole off at Travis’s mother’s house, which was along the way. Ashley’s contractions were increasing and the conditions of the roads were getting worse. They contacted Women and Babies in Lancaster to let them know they were on their way. But as things continued to progress, Ashley started to doubt that they would even make it.
Meanwhile, Travis was able to remain calm and collective and maneuver the roads as the snow continued to fall.
“I tell all my friends, if you ever need somebody in an emergency situation, Travis is it. He was cool as a cucumber the whole time. If he would have been worked up, I would have lost it. He was so even-keeled.”
A doctor from Women and Babies remained on the phone via Bluetooth with the Martins, and talked Ashley through her contractions. But baby Harrison was moving quickly.
“As she was talking to us, I said, ‘I don’t think we’re going to make it.’ And she said, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘The baby is coming.’”
“She asked if we needed an ambulance and I was like I don’t know,” continued Ashley. “I just kept saying I don’t think we’re going to make it. And my head was spinning and I couldn’t make a definitive decision on what we needed to do. The whole time I was almost in tears and I was so scared. And Travis said ‘You’re OK, just keep breathing, you’re OK.’ And I’m sitting there thinking, “Does he not realize?’”
“Maybe I just didn’t realize how close we were to having the baby,” explained Travis of his cool-as-a-cucumber mood. “But I was able to keep my cool. I got more worked up when we were talking to the doctor and she was saying if the baby comes, this is what you do. That hit home really hard.”
The Martins pulled over at the closest place they could to wait for an ambulance, which was the Sheetz along Newport Road and Route 501.
Two police officers were the first responders and officer Matt Klinger from Regional stayed with the Martins until the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later.
“It was nice to have him there. I know they have some training and know what to do,” added Travis.
Klinger and his wife had a little one of their own just five months before so the process was relatively fresh in his mind, though he was hoping Ashley could make it until an ambulance arrived and could get them to the closest hospital, which was Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center. Klinger was already preparing for what might need to be done if she wasn’t going to make it.
“I was kind of thinking they weren’t going to make it. By the way she was acting, based on what I knew, it wasn’t going to be long.”
Klinger just kept trying to keep the couple calm and delay the inevitable.
But baby Harrison was a persistent little guy and the Martins were starting to feel a little panicked. It was really cold and they were sitting in a Sheetz parking lot about to have a baby.
Ashley was feeling an extraordinary need to push at this point and the couple was beginning to think the ambulance wasn’t going to arrive in time.
“The doctor said, ‘If you have to push, you have to be ready to catch the baby.’” recalled Ashley. “That’s when it hit me. I then got it in my head that I had to make it into the ambulance and that was only as far as I needed to go. I thought I have to make it until the ambulance gets here. That was my goal.”
With just moments to spare, the ambulance arrived. Five minutes into the ride, somewhere between Sheetz and Heart of Lancaster Regional Medical Center, baby Harrison was born just after 9 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 21. And everyone was happy and healthy.
High fives all around!
Three EMTs were in the back assisting with the birth and Travis was forced to sit up front, not able to be with his wife.
“It was hard,” said Travis. “I kept looking back and wondering what was going on. To hear her in pain, it was hard. Then I heard him cry and the paramedic yelled ‘It’s a boy!’ That’s when I lost it.”
Harrison was born perfectly healthy, weighing in at seven pounds five ounces and 20.5 inches long. He suffered minor injuries from his quick arrival, some black and blue marks, but nothing that he wasn’t going to recover from in a few days.
“It really was a miracle how it all happened,” said Ashley. “Everyone was perfectly healthy and fine. Considering our circumstances, it went really really well.”