March 5, 2014. 10.30 p.m.
Railway Road, Dow Village, California.
A baby boy is born.
The person who delivered him was his father Robert Stroud, who has no medical experience.
Stroud, a security officer and welder, said he had no choice but to deliver the child at their home.
He describes the life-changing experience as breathtaking, wonderful, frightening and nerve-wracking.
Stroud, 40, explained why he had to deliver the baby, later named Khristian, on his own.
He said his wife, Britney Harewood, 25, was rushed to the San Fernando General Hospital twice earlier this month via Emergency Health Services (EHS) ambulances before giving birth.
She was due to give birth on March 2.
On March 5, she again visited the hospital while experiencing labour pains, he said.
Stroud told the Express his wife spent the entire day at hospital but left around 5.30 p.m. He said doctors told him she was not ready and they could not keep her for observation although they were begged to because of a lack of beds.
He said the pain never stopped even when the couple returned home
At around 9.30 p.m., the pain became unbearable for his wife he said and he called EHS. While speaking on the phone to an attendant, baby Khristian was born.
Stroud said when he knew the baby was about to come out, he tried to keep calm taking advice from the person on the phone.
He said in that moment, he was grateful for all the documentaries he watched and persons he listened to regarding pregnancies.
When he first saw his son Stroud said: “I was wondering, what in the world is this girl making?”
Holding his son for the first time, and watching him breathe was the highlight of Stroud’s life so far.
“When I wiped his head and he made that first scream of life, it was a wonderful feeling to witness.”
But, during the delivery process, Stroud had other challenges to deal with.
One of them was a visit from three police officers.
“As soon as the child was born, I heard a knock on the door. It was police officers coming to see what was wrong. Apparently, some neighbour who was hearing the screams of my wife called the police and told them there was some domestic abuse case happening here. I didn’t have time to really talk to them. I told them you have the wrong people. I am waiting for EHS. My wife just gave birth. They must have figured out I was telling the truth because they must have heard the baby crying and they left,” Stroud said.
And while on the phone with the EHS attendant, his mother was calling him to find out what was going on.
Stroud told the Express: “So you can just imagine what I had to deal with on that night.”
Minutes before 11 p.m., the ambulance arrived. By then, Stroud had successfully delivered his son and the afterbirth. The child’s navel string was cut by medical personnel. Mother and child were taken first to the Couva District Health Facility and then the San Fernando General Hospital.
He said his son was kept for seven days for observation at the hospital and it was heartbreaking to see him with needle marks on his fragile skin. Harewood was discharged the day after.
She said: “It was good he was there for me the whole time. It was an experience I would not want to go through again.”
Stroud said delivering his son changed his life.
He said: “I will never look at a woman the same again. That has opened my eyes to see women in a different way. Every man should experience a delivery. Men would treat women better if they know what women have to really go through to bring a life into this world. I cannot describe that feeling really in that moment It was truly an act of god. I would not advice any one to take chances in such a situation. It is a matter of life and death. “
And since it is a matter of life and death, Stroud said the medical system needed to take pregnancies more seriously.
“The medical system needs boosting. They need to have proper measures in place for when things like these happen. They cannot take these matters lightly.”
As life-changing as the experience was for Stroud, he is glad that it is over. He looks forward to building a life with the new addition to his family and obtaining a place that they can truly call home, other than their rented apartment.