SPARTA, Tenn. – Delivering a child in an ice storm takes an extra special effort, and not just by the mother. It’s a story of an amazing birth, told by the nurse who handled an emergency delivery in potentially deadly conditions.
She used blankets, warm water, and, in this case, a chainsaw.
That may sound odd, but without it the nurse may never have made it to the mother-to-be desperately in need.
The 911 call came in from Bon Air Mountain outside Sparta early Saturday morning, and the roads were a mess with trees and electric lines making safe driving nearly impossible.
The ambulance was having trouble navigating the slick roads, so Wendy Steele, a registered nurse at Highlands Medical Center, and her husband heard the page for help.
“Which was probably four miles from my house,” Steele said. “And he says, ‘Get your boots on. Let’s go.'”
So, they headed out, cutting away the brush in their way as they drove.
“That was my husband and me in the truck and I would wait while he cut branches and then move them,” said Steele pointing to a photo on her cellphone.
It took them two and a half hours through the mess to make it to the home of the woman in labor.
Seconds later the paramedics arrived after hiking in on foot.
Then with an icy rain falling, they all loaded the woman into the back of a vehicle hoping to make it to the hospital, but then her water broke.
“Shortly there after we didn’t have a choice and we delivered a healthy seven pound baby girl right there in the back of a Suburban,” said Steele.
In the freezing conditions Steele said it was crucial they find a way to keep the infant from getting cold.
“We were heating blankets on the defroster of the Suburban to warm the baby up,” said Steele.
It worked, and they all made it to the hospital safely.
The mother and daughter were not available to go on camera.
They learned they still had no power at their home, so they checked out of the hospital and left to stay with family in Chattanooga.
They were doing well and have quite a story to tell.
It’s worth noting Steele and her husband weren’t alone.
The rescue was truly a team effort with the Sparta Rescue Squad, White County EMS, Eastland Fire, Bondecroft Volunteer Fire Department, and county highway staff clearing the road to get the mother and daughter to safety.