Mom gave birth to daughter on floor of local hospital's parking garage

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

With labor pains coming every 17 minutes, Lisa Drum decided it was time for the long drive from southern Fairfield County to Dublin Methodist Hospital for the delivery of her second child.

It was late, and she knew it could take as long as an hour for her sister to drive her there. But she wasn't concerned, because she had been in labor for more than 11 hours with her first child, 3-year-old son Landon.

Lisa's husband, Navy Petty Officer John Drum, would have been driving, but he is stationed in San Diego. So with Lisa's sister Bobbie Lenard behind the wheel, they left Lisa's home in Amanda and drove first to Circleville, about 15 minutes away, to pick up their mother, Kim VanGundy. By the time they got to Circleville, Lisa's contractions were every four minutes.

Soon the contractions were coming faster, and Lisa, 25, who is a home health-care worker, knew they wouldn't make it all the way to Dublin. So she directed Bobbie to nearby Mount Carmel West, off Rt. 315 just west of Downtown.

Lisa's water broke. Bobbie missed a turn for the emergency room and ended up in a parking garage. "I was really mad at her," Lisa said. "My sister said later that I've never been so mean to her. But I said, 'I have to get to the emergency room! The baby is coming!'"

Then Bobbie accidentally backed into another car. The man behind the wheel started yelling. Too distracted to care, Lisa lumbered out of the car and lay down on the floor of Garage Number Two to deliver a child who would wait no longer. The man stopped yelling and soon came to hold Lisa's hand while Grandma Kim delivered her grandchild.

Meanwhile, Bobbie was racing through the garage to the emergency department to fetch help. Back on the garage floor, panic set in when the newborn emerged with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. She was turning bluish-gray.

Moments earlier on another floor of the garage, three women from the surgical department had been taking food from their cars for a potluck to celebrate a colleague's birthday. They heard a car crash followed by yelling. Nurse Ashley Gerlac and two patient-care assistants - Tia Walters, a nursing student, and Kelly Stambaugh, an EMT - raced toward the commotion.

They found what appeared to be an injured woman on the concrete and another crying, like the scene of a car crash. The baby was in trouble. "When she came out, she had the cord around her neck," Lisa said. "And she was not breathing." The hospital staff members reacted instinctively. They had only minutes.

"All I kept thinking was, 'Is she okay? Is she okay?' I think I was in shock," Lisa said. Ashley calmed Bobbie and Kim.

Kim had unwound the umbilical cord. And Kelly, lacking the proper tool, used her mouth to suction out the baby's nose and mouth, clearing her airway. After three tries, the baby squalled. Tia pulled off her shoe, yanked out a string and tied off the umbilical cord.

Next on the scene was a security guard, who called in the birth time as 1:10 a.m. May 28. Teams from the emergency department and labor and delivery rushed to take over, with as many as 30 people on hand at the height of the emergency.

Lisa said baby Alexis Eva Drum weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces and measured 19 inches. "She's beautiful. She's doing wonderful," Lisa said from home in Amanda.

Lisa couldn't immediately reach her husband, who had been away since February and was due home May 30 on a previously scheduled leave. But she left him a voicemail: "Your daughter has been born. She was born in the parking garage on the floor!" And the hospital staff has nicknamed her "Parker."