Maria and Michael Hernandez of Modesto never planned a home birth for their second child.
It just happened that way and it went remarkably well.
"It was like something on TV or a reality show," Maria said Tuesday, holding her daughter, Brianna. "I'm just glad my husband was there to calm me."
Friday, her husband took her to Kaiser Modesto Medical Center for what they thought would be a routine birth, but after more than four hours, hospital staff sent them home to wait for Maria's contractions to get stronger.
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At 8:40 that evening, Maria's labor pains were getting worse and became intolerable by 9 p.m. As they prepared to return to the hospital, Maria went into the bathroom and her water broke. Soon after Michael ran to assist her, the baby's head was crowning, he said.
Michael said his training as an emergency medical technician kicked in. He spread towels on the floor in the bedroom and helped his wife to lie down.
"As soon as she was on the floor, the baby was coming by herself," he said. "The majority of her head was coming out."
His mother, Maxine Mosqueda, was on the phone with a 911 dispatcher and they could hear the sirens of emergency vehicles responding to the call.
The baby's head emerged, and the baby let out a cry. With another contraction, her shoulders pushed through and Michael pulled her out. He was clamping the umbilical cord when Modesto firefighters came into the room.
Brianna Addison Hernandez was born at 9:17 p.m. Friday. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 21 inches long.
As emergency personnel took mother and child to the ambulance, the parents passed through a sea of neighbors gathered outside the home.
The baby appeared healthy and began to nurse during the ambulance ride to the hospital, the parents said.
Modesto-area babies appear to have no patience this month. On Oct. 7, Elijah Andrew Rodriguez of Ceres was born in an ambulance at Orangeburg and Sunrise avenues in Modesto as it sped to Doctors Medical Center.
Maria Hernandez and her baby were in the hospital until Sunday, and the parents took Brianna for her first checkup with a pediatrician Tuesday. Everything was fine. She has a 6-year-old brother, Michael Jr.
Michael Hernandez Sr. was an EMT with the Keyes Fire Department for three years. As an EMT, he responded to two calls during which babies were born at homes. But he was only credited with an assist at those calls.
Friday was the first time he delivered a baby.
"It was exciting and surreal at the same time," he said. "I couldn't believe it was happening. All of a sudden she was out and she was screaming and kicking and looking around."
Hernandez said the birth certificate, giving their home as the place of birth and noting the father delivered the baby, is something they will treasure.
Maria was able to give birth without all the intravenous lines and noisy medical equipment.
"It was scary, but now I think it was the most natural thing that could have happened," she said.
Bee staff writer Ken Carlson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2321.