03/03/10 — She couldn't wait, even for the snow

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She couldn't wait, even for the snow

By Steve Herring
Published in News on March 3, 2010 1:46 PM

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Crystal Serrano holds her newborn Samantha in her room at Wayne Memorial Hospital this morning.

SEVEN SPRINGS -- Little Samantha Serrano was not waiting for anyone -- not even Jack Frost.

Her mother, Crystal, had kind of hoped she would have waited to make her debut at least until she got to a hospital.

"Every time I had a pain she'd speed up and she was beeping at everybody," Crystal Serrano of Seven Springs said of her mother Nina Stallard's early-morning rush to drive her to the hospital before her baby was born.

But traffic, weather and the baby conspired to keep them from reaching the hospital in time and Samantha, 7 pounds, 11 ounces and 21.5 inches long, was born in the rear of an ambulance on N.C. 111 at 3:15 a.m. today.

"I never expected to have her in an ambulance," Crystal said.

Mrs. Serrano said she and the baby are both doing well, but that Samantha will have to remain in the hospital for 48 hours since she was not born in a hospital setting.

Mrs. Serrano, 23, was not due to give birth until March 16, but when she woke up in pain early this morning she knew the baby was on the way.

"I was sleeping and I had a sharp pain when I stood up and it just got worse and worse," she said.

Mrs. Serrano was to have delivered at New Hanover Hospital, but she called her mother, Nina Stallard of Kenansville, to come and take her to Wayne Memorial Hospital since her husband was at work.

"It took her about 40 minutes to get here because the roads were so bad," Mrs. Serrano said. "We got stuck three times near D.M. Price Store (on N.C. 111). (My mother) said, 'We are not going to make it down there.' I was already having the urge to push."

As they crossed N.C. 55, Mrs. Serrano said she could see lights up ahead that she could tell belonged to a police (sheriff's vehicle). However, by the time they reached the location, the vehicle had moved on.

"We could see the lights and my mother had the flashers on and was flashing the headlights," Mrs. Serrano said.

Those lights were on a four-wheel drive pickup being operated by Sheriff's Office Sgt. Richard Blizzard and Deputy Chuck Shaffer.

The deputies were on patrol about 2:30 a.m. and were returning from an accident scene near Seven Springs when they received a call that a pregnant woman who was on the way to Wayne Memorial Hospital did not think she would be able to make it there before the baby was born.

"They told us it was happening now," Blizzard said.

The deputies pulled into Spring Creek High School parking lot just moments ahead of the Mrs. Serrano and Mrs. Stallard.

Mrs. Serrano said her mother called 911 and was told to pull to the side of the road so they could be easily found. She said they saw the deputies' truck and pulled over to the school.

"It was snowing real hard at that time," Blizzard said. "I went back to the truck to talk to dispatch."

While Blizzard was at the truck, Shaffer stayed with the two women.

"Her water hadn't broke yet, and she told me it was her third child," Shaffer said. "She was having contractions two minutes apart and she was kind of panicky. There was another woman with her and she said that when she goes, she goes quickly."

Also in the car was Mrs. Serrano 4-year-old daughter, Yasmin. Her 8-year-old son, Carlos, was home asleep and being tended to by a neighbor.

Shaffer said he had spent his time talking to Mrs. Serrano trying to keep her calm until rescue arrived.

"He said, "Let me hold your hand," she said. "He stayed until the ambulance got there and he tried to comfort me."

Shaffer said he asked her about her other children and family and found out her husband was stuck at work.

"Yeah, I was nervous," he said today. "Luckily (the birth in the car) didn't happen. Dispatch called and told me she had the baby on the way there and that it was a girl."

Blizzard said he had been told the child had been born near Dollard Town Road intersection at N.C. 111.

Mrs. Stallard and Yasmin followed the ambulance to the hospital. Mrs. Serrano's husband arrived later.

"(Yasmin) said, " Mama, I have seen the baby, I have seen the baby,'" Mrs. Serrano said. "She is very happy."