There are numerous stories of pregnant women who were unexpectedly delivered in an airplane or a public vehicle, but a story about an 18-year-old lifeguard assists in the delivery of a baby on the pool deck at the YMCA pool in Longmont, Colorado, recently went viral.
Natalie Lucas, a lifeguard for three years, said it was the first time she'd had to help bring life into the world rather than simply prevent death.
Lucas expresses what she feels at the time that she helps a pregnant woman who is about to give birth:
A lot of people are telling me like, 'Oh, I wouldn't have been able to do that, like I would have passed out or freaked out.' I'm like, no, I just did what I was supposed to do
The woman, who was born and raised in Longmont, was tending the pool on the morning of July 24 when she saw Tessa Rider and her husband, Matthew Jones, enter the facility. After that, she said that Rider got into the pool.
Rider was, according to her husband, roughly nine months along at the time and had already gone beyond her due date.
He said that the baby was pressing on a nerve near his wife's hip, and that being in the water seemed to help her feel a little better.
As far as this form of childbirth is concerned, several investigations into the advantages of giving birth in water have been conducted.
While further research is necessary, many women who have chosen water delivery have reported beneficial results.
Some women report that giving birth in water was relaxing and helped their newborn feel more at ease.
Women who choose to labor (but not deliver) in water have also reported the same benefits, which are sometimes referred to as hydrotherapy.
Natalie Lucas, an 18-year-old lifeguard, is smiling in the photo while wearing a red shirt and a lace with a whistle
"There were probably three times that week where we thought, 'We're having the baby finally.' And then nothing happened.
We just didn't know if it was gonna be that day or that week and there just wasn't a lot of certainty.
But the only thing that we could really do is try and make her as comfortable as possible, hence all the trips to the pool."
During the time that Rider was in the water, Lucas kept a watchful eye out for her and promptly noted a few minutes later that she appeared to require assistance.
Meanwhile, Lucas noted:
She had a [pool] noodle to try to relieve some tension from all that weight on the front of her, I'm assuming, and then she started crawling out of the pool ... and I was like, alright, I need to go check to make sure everything's OK there.
But all was not well, and to everyone's surprise, a more serious situation quickly arose, with Rider's water breaking while she was on the pool deck.
"I walk over and Matthew, the husband, he says to me, 'We're having the baby right now.' I'm like, 'OK!' Adrenaline kicks in right then and there," the 18-year-old lifeguard said.
Jones said he dialed 911 right away, but while he was talking to the operator, he saw his wife take off her swimsuit and realized the kid was already crowning.
Meanwhile, Lucas admitted to "freaking out a little bit" and feeling worried before the event, but she worked hard to maintain her composure.
"I knew I needed to stay calm and level-headed. The couple was very calm about it all while it was all happening, which kind of surprised me. So I made sure to keep my head on and stay with them, keep asking them questions, keep them focused on the baby and [make sure] that they [were] the most comfortable." Lucas said.
Lucas helped Rider and Jones by getting medical supplies and towels from the center and calling the front desk for more help.
She pointed out that they were only about five feet from the water while she stated: "I make sure Tessa is comfortable and trying to get her situated in the best position possible."
"I'm like alright, this cement ground isn't that great but let me prop her up, lean her head on the medical bag. I give some towels to Matthew, the baby comes out quite fast, like less than five minutes, I would say. It was pretty insane."
While Jones was giving birth, Lucas asked a lap swimmer nearby to call 911 while Rider was giving birth. After the baby was born, the man took a photo for the family with Lucas.
"We were on the phone with the operator, making sure that the baby was breathing, that the chest was rising and falling. I had to get a towel to clean up the baby's mouth to make sure the airway wasn't obstructed and that he had a clear [airway for] breathing. And then the paramedics came in about five minutes later after that."
The teen, who is about to start college at San Diego State University in the fall, says the entire experience has left an impression on her, and she plans to send Tobin birthday cards and stay in touch with the family.
"It's definitely something I will never forget and I will tell the story many years in the future. But this experience has definitely opened my eyes and kind of [made me] realize just how amazing women can be like, wow, that anything can really happen and it's pretty cool to experience that with someone and be there with them," Lucas expresssed.
To everyone's relief, Tobin Thomas Rider was delivered without any trouble, and he has been given a membership to the YMCA that will last his entire life.
The husband of Rider was astounded and praised Lucas for her assistance as well.
"I liken Natalie's presence to like a doula or a midwife. ... She was super focused on Tessa. So in that moment, I did not have to worry about my wife. I could direct the entirety of my focus onto Tobin and what Tobin needed to be safe and healthy," Jones said and added:
"Without Natalie there, I wouldn't have been able to give my attention to Toby. And I would say that that was everything in that moment. Tessa wanted me focused on Toby but she still needed care and that's what Natalie was there for."