It was too late for hospital as baby showed up early

June 10, 1994|By Sherry Joe | Sherry Joe,Sun Staff Writer

Kerry Grace Chaney wasn't due to make her grand entrance until June 15. But the infant girl couldn't wait.

On Tuesday, Elkridge resident Donna Chaney unexpectedly gave birth to the 6-pound, 13-ounce baby while waiting for her husband, Terry, who was seeing the dentist at Columbia Medical Plan off Thunderhill Road.

The unscheduled delivery -- at a health maintenance organization facility that doesn't usually deliver babies -- took place in a patient examining room in Columbia Medical Plan's obstetrician and gynecology department not specifically equipped to handle births.

"I saw [the doctor] put the gown on, and that's when it hit me that I was having a baby," Mrs. Chaney recalled yesterday, as she cradled her daughter on the front steps of the family's Ducketts Lane home.

Added her husband, "We were lucky. We were at the right place at the right time."

A subsidiary of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, the HMO has an "urgent care area" to handle minor emergencies. But it is not prepared for outpatient surgery beyond such procedures as circumcisions, vasectomies and other minor operations.

Members of the HMO usually have their babies delivered at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia. Mrs. Chaney was the first to deliver a baby at the Thunderhill Road HMO since it opened in 1969, officials there said yesterday.

Mrs. Chaney, 27, a computer administrator for the Howard County Police Department, began to go into labor after 2:30 p.m. Tuesday when she dropped off her husband at the dental office.

Earlier that day, she had visited her obstetrician, Dr. Steven Noskow, for a routine prenatal exam.

"Everything was fine," Mrs. Chaney said, until she began to experience mild cramps while shopping with her 2-year-old son, Curt.

Mrs. Chaney hurried back to the doctor's office, directly across the hall from the dental office, and was told not to worry.

But by the time she and Curt returned to pick up Mr. Chaney, she was in such pain that she returned to the doctor's office, where she was examined by Dr. Marvin Davis, the obstetrician who wound up delivering Kerry.

"When I examined her, she was fully dilated," said Dr. Davis, who immediately called an ambulance to take Mrs. Chaney to the hospital.

By the time the ambulance arrived, Mrs. Chaney was about to give birth.

Mr. Chaney, a Howard County police officer, said he knew ZTC something was amiss when he saw his wife's face, but that he wasn't worried. "You're in a medical plan, there's got to be a doctor around somewhere," he said.

Dr. Davis was concerned that he didn't have enough sophisticated equipment to handle a potentially complicated birth.

"The basic problem was delivery in an exam room and not in a delivery room," Dr. Davis said. "You always get nervous because you don't have equipment to deal with significant problems."

According to the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, 736 children were born outside hospitals in 1990, the latest year for which figures are available.

Of those, 182 were attended by a physician, 339 were attended by a certified nurse-midwife, and 215 were classified as "other," births attended by family members or paramedics, said Tori Leonard, spokeswoman for the department.

For Mrs. Chaney, everything went smoothly. Kerry Grace was born at 4:32 p.m. Now, pink balloons, a banner and a sign reading "It's a girl!" decorate the front door and lawn of the Chaneys' home.

The couple already have thought about how they'll handle future births. "I think we'll be really careful towards the end the next time," Mrs. Chaney said.

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