A West Richland mother expecting her second child was dubious when a doctor told her she wasn’t feeling contractions.
Melissa Pierce was in pain most of Thursday. She and her husband, Jared, already had sent their 2 1/2-year-old daughter, Charlotte, to stay with her grandmother as they waited for their new arrival.
When Melissa thought it was time, they headed to Kadlec Regional Medical Center about 2 p.m., only to be told by a nurse that she wasn’t having contractions.
She was sent home to rest, drink plenty of water and return when her pains were five minutes apart.
By 9 p.m. the couple was back at the Richland hospital — Melissa certain this time she was in labor. But medical officials didn’t agree.
A doctor showed her on a computer screen that instruments detected no signs of labor.
She didn’t know what to think. When Charlotte was born, Melissa’s water had broken, leaving no doubt the baby would be born soon.
This time they were sent home again. The doctor was sure he wouldn’t need to see Melissa until a scheduled 40-week appointment today.
“I was just in so much pain I didn’t know how it couldn’t be contractions,” she said. “It was very frustrating.”
Just before midnight, less than two hours after returning home, Melissa became ill, feeling an intense pressure.
Concerned, Jared wanted to help her to the car to return to the hospital. Melissa said it was too late, he needed to call an ambulance.
After calling 911, he tried to help her.
“I picked her up … and laid her on the (bedroom floor) and that’s when I noticed the head popping out,” he said.
Within a few minutes, just after midnight, little Violet Arielle was in Jared’s arms.
“It was pretty insane,” he said.
Emergency medical technicians from Benton Fire District 4 arrived just a minute or two later and cared for Melissa and Violet’s immediate needs before whisking them back to Kadlec.
“Quite the entrance to make on Friday the 13th,” Melissa said.
The healthy newborn later weighed in at 8 pounds, 3 ounces and measured 20 inches. Mom and daughter were back home Monday.
Accidental out-of-hospital deliveries are rare, accounting for less than 1 percent of all births, according to several medical studies.
Kadlec officials said privacy laws and courtesy to the Pierce family limits what can be said about the unintended home birth.
“Every labor course is different and unexpected timing can occur,” said a statement to the Herald. “We know that this was not the birth experience the patient and family anticipated, but we are pleased that mother and baby are healthy.”
While frustrated that the nurse and doctor did not realize Melissa was in labor, the Pierces said the hospital staff was always kind.
They even met with the doctor who sent them home.
“I think he was very embarrassed when we came back after having her at home,” Jared said.