The delivery room is supposed to be a place with calm, soothing atmosphere as serious medical professionals work to deliver the child in the smoothest manner possible. However, sometimes some sort of drama emerges during childbirth which causes things to go a bit awry. Dealing with that kind of stuff is usually a bit outside of doctors' medical expertise, so they simply have to do their best to improvise and rectify the situation.
Whether it's a father who's irate when the baby that comes out is clearly not his, or a mother who believes that her newborn child is the spawn of Satan, it's difficult to imagine the levels of stress that such unruly patients much cause. Here are some of Reddit doctors' wildest, most insane things they've seen go down in the delivery room. Content edited for clarity.
"This was my husband's birth in 1944. His mom was in labor in a small town birthing home at the local doctor's house. His mom was in a back room with the doctor and a nurse.
My father-in-law was in the doctor's living room, which served as a waiting area. The doctor came out and told him there were complications and that he could save the mom or save the baby, but he had to choose.
My father-in-law got up, walked out, got a weapon out of his truck, and came back in. He pointed the barrel at the doctor and said both better live or the doctor wouldn't. He then sat down on the couch. The doctor went back into the room with the laboring mother and ended up pulling the baby out with forceps. They both lived, as did the doctor."
"A doctor was delivering the baby via vacuum extraction and at one point, the suction cap came off the baby's head. The baby's father thought the doctor had pulled the infant's head off and proceed to punch the doctor in the jaw.
The doctor went straight down to the ground like a felled tree, much yelling ensued, and people had to hold the father back before he finally realized that the baby was fine and that its head was still attached. The unconscious doctor was pulled into a chair and another physician came in to finish the delivery.
We had to have a quick and frantic conversation at the nurses' station about whether to allow the father to remain in the room. We decided that, from his vantage point, it may have appeared that the baby's head had been removed and that he had a momentary loss of reason. Once the father realized his mistake, he was horrified at what he'd done and was profoundly apologetic."
"When I was in nursing school, we only had one clinical day dedicated to labor and delivery. Well, my day had gotten canceled and moved because of a blizzard, so my make up day was at an inner-city hospital instead of the nice suburban hospital I had gotten for the rest of my rotation.
On the day of my clinical, I was paired with a young teenage couple. The girl was on her fourth pregnancy, though it was only her second full-term pregnancy as the others were aborted. The baby daddy was miserable the entire time, saying things like, 'Can I just leave and come back later?' At one point he literally got into a screaming match with the girl's mom when she told him to stop complaining.
As soon as that baby popped out and the dad held it, he handed it back and said, 'This ain't mine,' and left the room. The poor girl was hysterically crying. Then he came back and started yelling at her for cheating because the baby was 'too light-skinned.' Everyone was saying babies all come out a little pale, but he started yelling at everyone who brought it up. He said he wouldn't see either of them until he had a paternity test in his hand and left. He never came back."
"I'm a nurse in a level 4 neonatal ICU. We service the sickest of the sick from our state and the surrounding states, so we see it all. One time we had a baby that was sick as snot. Lo and behold, we discovered its blood/spinal fluid was septic with herpes. In most babies, we avoid this by treating herpes while the mom is pregnant.
In this case, the mom didn't even know she was a carrier. So where did it come from? That was the awkward and sickening moment when everyone in the room realized where the herpes originated.
It turned out that the father had an affair and contracted the virus from his lover. So, yeah, while this woman's baby was on the verge of death, she found out her husband had been cheating on her and his cheating butt was the reason their baby got so sick.
The baby did survive. I think there may have been some degree of brain damage."
"I'm a nurse and I once had a couple come in, just them. The father was black and the mother was white. The father was so involved, so ecstatic about becoming a father for the second time with this woman.
Nothing really seemed off...until she started pushing. The baby girl came out completely white with blonde hair and blue eyes. Usually, black babies come out a little pale, but this one was just straight up white. We had to usher the father out for fear of him becoming angry, but he just sat outside the room on the ground with his face in his hands. That was one of the saddest moments I think I've ever seen with a father aside from stillbirth.
The odd thing was that the mom didn't want the baby and wanted nothing to do with the 'father,' probably out of guilt. That meant she left the responsibility of this baby and their other 2-year-old boy to this man who didn't even question taking on this child."
"I heard this from an elderly client who used to be an obstetrician. He was telling me stories about when he used to deliver babies at peoples' homes way back in the day. He was telling me about his son, and I asked if he delivered his own son. He said yes and told me the most amazing, heartbreaking, and heartwarming story.
In the late 1940s, the town ambulance/hearse/taxi pulled up at his little independent practice out in rural Illinois. A volunteer firefighter came in and said they had a lady in labor and they wouldn't make it to the hospital, which was over an hour away, so he told them to bring her in. He delivered the baby and mom passed out during the process, which isn't out of the ordinary.
Later the mom woke up and the doctor came in to give her the baby, but she started screaming, 'Get it away from me!' The doctor was confused and couldn't figure out what was going on with the mother. She just kept flailing around and screaming that she didn't want to look at 'it.' When the doctor later returned with the child, the mother still looked terrified, as if the newborn had nine heads. He finally asked, 'Well, what do you want me to do with your son?'
The mom remained silent for a long time, and as the doctor was getting up to leave, she quietly asked, 'Can you get rid of him?' The doctor asked what she meant and she said, 'You know, maybe just make him go to sleep so he won't wake up.'
He said it took everything in him to not beat this woman to death right then and there. He went off on a tangent about how much he loved his work with all the new mothers in all these little towns full of 'salt of the earth' people with great family values. On and on about how happy it made him bringing life into the world and this woman wanted him to murder her baby.
When the doctor asked why she wanted to get rid of the baby, the mother said that her husband was in the military and the child was not his. She couldn't let him find out. He understood her rationale for not wanting her husband to know, but murder? He suggested family, an orphanage, and other options. She said no to all of them because she couldn't 'risk it coming back to haunt (her).' He told her he'd see what he could do and let her rest.
The next day, he tried to talk to her again but she was even more adamant about 'making it sleep.' She said she wanted to hold her baby, but he refused since he thought she'd try to kill him herself. She went nuts. In the end, he sent her home and told her that he'd given the baby to his brother who was a pastor and was unable to have children. He promised he'd never tell anyone who she was.
Then he said he 'taught her a lesson' and told her that if she ever found herself pregnant again, she must come to him whether it was her husband's or not. If he ever found out she went elsewhere, he'd tell everyone the story. He said he did this because he was afraid she'd get knocked up and kill the next one. He knew he'd find out if she went elsewhere because he was the only baby doctor for five towns and knew other doctors at the hospitals. She never had any other kids and supposedly died from an overdose a few years later.
The doctor and his wife raised that baby as their own son. His wife wasn't able to have kids and the pastor brother was a fib just to make her think he'd already given the baby away. He eventually told his son a watered down version of the story when he was older. The kid ended up becoming a plastic surgeon and had nine kids of his own. He's doing very well, he's very happy, and he probably never would have had a shot had that small town fireman tried to press on to the hospital and wound up delivering the kid in the middle of nowhere. He was convinced she would have delivered and then smothered the baby by the time they got to the hospital."
"A friend of mine was looking after a Caucasian couple in the labor ward. Things were progressing well and the woman started pushing. Pushing, pushing, hair became visible, the head continued to advance, and it became quite clear that the child was black.
The dad stood up, wide-eyed, pointed at the woman, shouted 'You slag!' and stormed out of the room. In a sheer panic, the woman hopped straight off the bed and tried to chase down her significant other...with the baby's head just sitting there between her legs!
My friend was trying to wrangle the woman back on the bed so she could deliver the baby as she sobbed uncontrollably. Based on his reaction, I imagine the guy did not stick around to raise the little one."
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"A woman was giving birth to her child and didn't want her father, who liked to drink, to know. Then he showed up during the labor in the delivery ward, absolutely smashed out of his mind, demanding to meet his grandchild.
We tried to act like his daughter wasn't there, but he started to yell so the baby's father heard him and came out to ask him to leave. The wasted grandfather became very irate and started to smash the windows, doors, and nursing station.
All of a sudden, the father of the child tackled his father-in-law, grabbed him by his collar, and dragged out of the unit, onto an elevator, and then threw him outside. It's sad how many boozebags show up demanding to see the new member of their family. It's actually a regular occurrence."
"One of my coworkers is about to become a dad, and so his wife has been spending a lot of time at their local hospital. His wife has heard some pretty crazy stories from the nurses, including this one:
One day a guy came running down the ward hallway screaming for help that his wife was in labor and they needed the doctors to come quickly! The nurses looked around curiously and asked him, 'Ok, so where is she?'
The color drained from the husband's face as he thought it over. Then he yelled, 'OH NO!' as he ran out of the hospital. Forty minutes later, the husband returned with his wife in tow. Apparently, in his initial rush, he'd packed a change of clothes, the car seat, camera gear, and high tailed it to the hospital while leaving his wife at home!"
"When I was an intern at a hospital, we once had a patient who was eight months pregnant and got crushed in a head-on collision. She was pulseless on the scene, so the medics brought her in immediately. We had about a 60-second warning in the emergency room to get the OBGYN crash team and the NICU response team down.
It was clear that the mom wasn't going to make it, but we had to try to keep her alive so we could do a perimortem C-section to get the kid out alive. I was on the trauma team, so while I was working on trying to keep the mom's circulation going to perfuse the uterus, the obstetrician started the delivery. We opened the woman's chest to start internal compressions and to see if there was an aortic injury we could temporize.
A C-section is usually fast; perimortem sections are faster. From skin cut to baby out and over to the NICU team was about 45 seconds. They started CPR because the baby had a low heart rate and was essentially dead. That's when we found a second baby; it turned out the mom was having twins.
I joined the impromptu NICU team as we tried to save the second baby, but it became clear it was futile so we abandoned our efforts and turned all our resources to the first baby. We worked on that baby for over an hour, but we were never able to get it stabilized. We were able to get the baby to the NICU but, unfortunately, it arrested again and could not be resuscitated.
The husband and father, who was in the car as well, was physically fine aside from some minor contusions. When we told him what happened, that he had just lost essentially his whole family, the poor man just collapsed. There was no crying or screaming; he just went down like a sack of potatoes. I will never forget the expression on his face, as it was filled with immense pain, sorrow, and suffering."
"When I had my first child, I ended up having a c-section. When we made it to the post-op area, there were two other families, one on either side of us, and they were being very quiet.
We were cuddling our new baby and he was dozing when I realized one of the women next to me was sobbing quietly; her baby had not survived. Then we realized the family on the other side of us had a baby with a previously undiagnosed congenital disability and the family was in shock.
We were the only happy and healthy group in the unit. I asked my husband to quietly go to the nurse's station and respectfully request to be moved as soon as possible and not have our happiness add to the burdens of the families near us. I think of those moms every year on my kid's birthday."
"We caught a man cracking open the anesthesia cabinet and stealing medication while his wife was in labor with his child.
When the police came to arrest him, he was sobbing and kept saying over and over, 'Y'all aren't going to let me see my baby be born?'
The arresting officers were both like, 'Um...nope, you should have thought about that before you tried to steal from the hospital.'"
"I was staying in the hospital with my sister while she was pregnant and have some interesting stories about the two elderly men awaiting the birth of their grandchild. We got to know their family over the two days we were there, and they seemed nice except for these two men.
They were constantly shouting and swearing at each other the entire time. At one point, the paternal father tried to ask a nurse for directions to the cafeteria and one of the guys called him a 'worthless piece of crap.' These two hated each other, it was mental.
Then something said caused them to break out into a full-on fistfight in the hallway and they ended up knocking over some cleaning supplies. I had to help break up the fight; let me remind you that these two were 67 and 75 years old. The hospital staff asked them to leave as they were stressing out the other patients, which is the last thing a woman in labor needs.
The hospital staff also asked me to make sure the two men actually left the building, and when they got to the parking lot, they started going at it again. I had to break it up (again) and just before security arrived, one old guy got into a wheelchair and claimed that the other tried to flip him over. The other grandfather then walked up to the guy in the wheelchair and punched him in the face. Then the guy got up and, yep, you guessed it, they started fighting again."
"This happened when I was in medical school on my obstetrics rotation doing a late night shift because I want to see some births. A schizophrenic woman in her 20's came in, laboring with her sixth child.
Apparently, the police had to break the door to her home down because she went into labor while continuously screaming, 'I'm not giving birth to Satan's baby! This is Satan's baby!'
She continued this at the hospital, and the doctor on rotation looked unamused and said to the nurse, 'Sedate her a bit, we'll do a C-section if she refuses to push.'
After about 30 minutes, the doctor told me to go in and do a pelvic exam and to give him a report on her status. He went in with me but got called out as I was putting on gloves, saying he'd be back in a minute. I introduced myself to the patient, explained what I was doing, and started the examination. I felt a contracting sensation, and the next thing I know, a baby's head was pushed out into my hands. I was in shock staring at the baby when I started to yell, 'I, uh, need some help here!'
Both mother and child turned out healthy. After everything settled down, the mother approached me and said, 'What's your name? I'll name it after you.' It was a boy and I am female, but she insisted I give her my name. I didn't want to mess up this kid's life, so I said, 'Henry.'"
"I remember assisting with a delivery as a medical student working with a family resident physician. Usually, they just want the student to watch, but I remember one time the attending physician told the resident, 'No, no, let her do it. She needs the practice.'
When the attending physician says, 'No, no, she needs the practice,' it's not a good sign, but luckily the baby got delivered and I thought all was well. After a baby is born, you have to deliver the placenta by applying gentle traction on the cord to encourage progress. While the attending physician was distracted by the new baby, I watched in horror as the resident YANKED on the umbilical cord. Of course, it snapped, and she had this look of dread on her face. As a result, we had to take drastic measures, so the attending physician explained to the husband what would happen next.
Attending Physician: 'We're going to take her back to the operating room.'
Husband: 'She's having surgery?'
AP: 'Hopefully not, sir. We're going to extract the placenta manually.'
Husband: 'How are you getting in if there's no surgery?'
AP: 'Well, sir, we're able to enter through the birth canal.'
Husband: 'You're gonna put some tool inside her?'
AP: 'No sir, we'll be doing a manual extraction.'
AP: 'With a hand and arm.'
Husband: 'You're going to stick your ARM up my wife?'
AP: 'That's about right, sir.'
Husband: 'You mean to tell me you're going to fist my wife?'
The conversation sort of went on that way for a while. When we got back to the operating room, and I watched in horror as the attending physician put on a glove that pretty much went to her shoulder and just dove right in. She was in past her elbow, manually scraping the placenta out. The wife was loopy but not 'out' during the procedure and was providing colorful commentary.
When we finally finished and the woman was with her husband, she said, 'I swear to God, I could feel them pressing on my lungs.' The husband said, 'I thought they went in from below,' and with beautiful theatrics, she grabbed his shirt, pulled him towards her, and through clenched teeth said, 'They did.' As for me, I decided to go into psychiatry."