Three days past her due date, a Baltimore mother-to-be gave birth in the front seat of her SUV to her second child, while she and her husband attempted to make it to the hospital in the early hours of July 27.
Wendy and Gerard Talley, both 32, were enjoying a typical Friday evening at their Waverley home in East Baltimore. Talley, a registered nurse, said her husband was taking the trash out and had just fed their cat. Then the first signs of labor showed up.
“I thought I had more time, I thought I had more time,” Wendy told the AFRO.
Her contractions were pulsing every two minutes. She said they were “really strong and really hard.” At 3:13 a.m. on July 27, her water broke and the Talley family set off for the hospital, planning to drop their two-year-old son Jacob at the home of Angela White, her mother-in-law–but they never made it that far.
“As we were getting ready to leave the house, I yelled at my husband and told him I felt something,” said Wendy. “I told him to call 911 because the head was coming out.”
Wendy told the AFRO she felt the baby’s head press against her undergarments and knew she wasn’t going to make it to the delivery room but proceeded to head to the University of Maryland Medical Center, anyway.
With Jacob in the back seat of the SUV and his mother in the passenger seat, Talley was on a cellphone connection with a 911 dispatcher, telling the first responders their route and each move they made.
“I was trying to get as close as I could to the hospital,” Talley, a UMMC administrative aide, said of the trip down I-83. “I got off at the Fayette Street exit in downtown, and somehow dropped my cell phone in the truck.”
The final moments of the unexpected delivery came at the intersection of Calvert and Franklin streets where Talley spotted a police officer parked on the corner, honked his horn and got out of his truck to tell him what was happening.
“While my husband was out of the truck, I leaned my seat back, took off my bottoms and reached down and felt my baby’s head,” Wendy told the AFRO. “When my husband opened the door, he yelled, ‘The head is out.’”
As city police stood at the scene making efforts to reach dispatchers and medic units, this baby was on the way out of the womb.
“My husband took his hands and held the baby’s head,” she said. “I only had two more contractions and the baby was out, he was out in the truck.”
Noah Victor Talley was born at 4:13 a.m. on July 27 at the corner of Calvert and Franklin streets in Baltimore city.
With the calm of hospital professionals, the Talleys slapped the baby on his buttocks and back in an attempt to get him crying.
By this time, other officers were arriving at the pre-dawn nativity scene. “The female officer that came was great,” Wendy said. “She cleaned the baby’s mouth out, helped my husband and I wrap the baby up in his shirt and tied a makeshift [tourniquet with a] shoe string around the umbilical cord, until it could be properly cut.”
Wendy said the unknown female officer was a blessing. She said, “She reassured us that everything was okay, and that our baby was going to be just fine.”
“I wish I could remember her name so I could thank her.”
“Once I heard the baby cry, I cried, we all cried,” Wendy told the AFRO.