A rural Columbus couple had planned on having their second child at Columbus Regional Hospital after an induced labor, but the newborn had other plans.
Justin and Chelsea Miracle Burton delivered their second daughter, Emelia, on their own at their western Bartholomew County home early Thursday morning after Chelsea’s contractions unexpectedly quickly intensified and the 20-minute car ride to the hospital couldn’t be attempted.
Chelsea Burton delivered and caught the 6-pound, 13-ounce girl as she was born in the home’s bathroom about 1:17 a.m. Thursday as her husband was calling 911, trying to finish packing a bag and preparing to take Chelsea to the hospital.
The couple’s 1½-year-old daughter Alaina slept through the entire event, her parents said.
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Even hours after delivering the baby and recovering at the hospital, Chelsea Burton said she was still processing what had just happened.
“I’m in complete shock,” she said.
Wednesday night had started out fairly normal, as the couple prepared to have induced labor at the hospital Thursday morning, they said. Chelsea’s due date was Saturday, and the couple was still finishing up last-minute details such as packing her bag.
At 9 p.m., she began having contractions, about 15 to 18 minutes apart, and that continued for several hours.
Their doctor had told them to not head for the hospital until the contractions were 5 minutes apart, so the couple settled in, not going to sleep, and kept timing. When Alaina was born, Chelsea was in labor about 13 hours before the birth.
At 1:05 a.m., Chelsea said she had her first contractions at 5 minutes apart, and Justin began finishing up the packing and called his mother to watch Alaina.
But Chelsea then told him she thought the baby was coming and he called 911 seeking help, and went to put their dogs in a back bedroom and unlock the door for when the paramedics arrived.
Chelsea had gone into the bathroom and without even pushing, had one or two contractions and yelled to Justin that the baby’s head was coming and then Emelia arrived, caught by her mother. Chelsea said at first she was speechless and then called for her husband, who immediately grabbed the baby, who initially did not appear to be breathing.
“My husband grabbed her — we didn’t have anything to suction her mouth out, but he started moving her around and the baby began breathing and crying. They wrapped the baby in a towel.
The 911 call had dropped, but the dispatcher called back and advised Justin to leave the umbilical cord alone and keep the baby level with Chelsea’s stomach or slightly lower until medical help could arrive.
“My husband knelt down and stayed there for 15 minutes until the firefighter arrived,” she said. “I was crying.”
Harrison Township deputy fire chief Wally Dietz was the first to arrive, sent at 1:15 a.m., and arriving to find the couple doing well in the aftermath of the birth.
Dietz said Justin was keeping the baby warm and content in the towel and the baby was breathing well. She was pronounced in perfect health after a check at the hospital.
“She was very comfortable being held by her father,” Dietz said of the scene.
After the paramedics and ambulance arrived, they clipped the umbilical cord in two places, and then offered Justin a scalpel to cut the cord before they went to the hospital early Thursday morning.
“I had no idea the baby was going to come that fast,” Justin said.
Justin, who owns a commercial pressure-washing business, and Chelsea, a school bus driver, agreed that Emelia will have quite a birth story to share someday.
And while the couple plans to have more children in the future, it is unlikely the next little Burton will be born at home.
“As soon as the first contraction, we’re going to the hospital,” Chelsea said.