Local author gives birth roadside

Kimberly Giarratano says experience with natural birth helped in emergency

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  • The newest member of the Giarratano family, who made her way into the world in a minivan

Local options for childbirth limited

With no hospitals in Pike County, residents looks to outpost health centers and hospitals in surrounding counties for care.
Bon Secours in Port Jervis is the closest hospital for many, and the closure of its maternity ward in January 2013 left even fewer alternatives. It does maintain a designated private room in the emergency room for emergency deliveries, but its website recommends Orange County Medical Center in Middletown instead. Wayne Memorial in Honesdale, Newton Memorial, and Pocono Medical Center in Stroudsburg are other options in surrounding counties.
As Kimberly Giarratano says, “If you live in Pike County, you really don’t have a choice but to travel more than forty minutes for a hospital. I never blinked at the 90-minute drive to Morristown because we all have to travel if we want to give birth in a decent hospital. And it was worth it for me because of the outstanding care I knew I would get delivering with my midwife group. I love those ladies and I can’t imagine delivering with anyone else now.”
Mother and daughter are home now after a short stay at Newton Memorial.

By Heather Adams

— Dingman Township residents Kimberly Giarratano and her husband, Robert, realized halfway to Morristown Memorial Hospital they weren't going to make it.

Kimberly had expected to deliver her third child at the hospital with the Midwives of New Jersey. Her husband called 911 for an escort to Newton Memorial.

In the end, though, he delivered their daughter in Frankford Township — in the back of their minivan.

Kimberly went into labor on May 9. Having given birth naturally to two boys, now 4 and 2, she knew what to expect.

But this time her contractions were inconsistent. She estimates that labor was less than three hours. By the time they crossed into New Jersey, her contractions were on top of one another. That's when they knew they wouldn't get to Morristown.

According to the New Jersey State Police, dispatchers told Troopers William Cisko and Luis Jacinto that the caller was traveling south on U.S. 206 with his hazard lights on. The troopers found the couple standing outside their minivan while stopped in the Frankford Township building parking lot.

No time to wait

When Kimberly felt the urge to push, her husband helped her into the trunk. The first push broke her water and the second delivered Paloma Anne into Robert's hands, at 8:16 p.m.

The troopers cleared the baby’s airway and wrapped her in a shirt. Volunteer EMTs arrived and wanted to cut the cord, but thanks to Kimberly's training with the Midwives of New Jersey, she knew to wait until she delivered the placenta as well.

Once comfortable on a gurney in the ambulance headed to Newton Memorial, she was finally able to hold her daughter.

Trooper Cisko drove Robert and their boys to the hospital while Jacinto followed the ambulance. One officer held the older boy's hand as they entered the hospital. Kimberly was finally able to thank them for their help.

"Their presence was a huge reassurance to both me and Bob and was exciting for the boys," she said.

Prepared for roadside delivery

Kimberly said she delivered her sons with the Midwives of New Jersey, formerly Hackettstown Midwives.

"The best preparation my husband and I had for our impromptu delivery was our two previous natural childbirths," Kimberly said. "I had two water births with them so I knew what to expect when it came to delivering naturally without medication. I knew to get on my hands and knees to birth. I knew to wait for the placenta. We knew to wait to cut the cord. If it wasn't for our experiences with the water births, I think we would've panicked."

She said she might not have been so calm if it happened with her first baby.

"But both my sons had been born naturally without complications, so I just assumed my daughter would enter the world the same way," she said. "And she had."

No natural childbirth class can really prepare you for giving birth in your car in a parking lot, she said.

"The only thing that prepared me for giving birth in my car was knowing that my body would birth my baby no matter what," said Kimberly. "Also, I didn’t have much of a choice."

"My daughter and I are doing really well," she said. "Our exciting weekend was followed by much needed downtime at home. I’m truly grateful for the assistance of the New Jersey State Troopers and the volunteer EMTs. Had there been complications, I take solace knowing I would’ve been in very capable hands."

And the excitement picks up again for Kimberly next month, when her first young adult novel, "Grunge Gods and Graveyards," is set for publication.

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