Kentucky obstetrician Dr. Amanda Hess was only expecting to deliver one baby when she arrived at the hospital last week — her own.
But while she was in her room preparing to give birth to her second child, she realized that the woman in labor two doors down needed immediate attention because the baby’s heartbeat was dropping dangerously low. Knowing the on-call doctor was out of the building, Dr. Hess slipped some splash-proof boots over her flip-flops, walked to fellow patient Leah Halliday-Johnson’s room and delivered the baby.
“It was urgent that baby was delivered right away,” Hess tells PEOPLE. “Then I walked back and one hour later I started contractions.”
She gave birth to her own baby girl, Ellen Joyce, at 9:30 a.m. the next morning.
The excitement began on Sunday, July 23 after Dr. Hess, 38, checked into the hospital where she is on staff, Frankfort Regional Medical Center in Frankfort, Kentucky, and changed into a patient gown.
While waiting to begin the procedures to have her labor induced, she glanced at the computer screen in her room that alerts the medical staff to patients’ conditions and noticed that an unknown woman was having complications with her pregnancy.
Halliday-Johnson, 38, tells PEOPLE that she was only 1-cm. dilated when she checked into the hospital but an hour later her fourth child was arriving faster than expected and with the umbilical cord loosely wrapped around her neck. The nurses asked her to try not to push because the on-call doctor was still on his way back from his break, she says.
“I was not being quiet about the fact that it was difficult for me not to push,” Halliday-Johnson says, adding that with no time for any pain medication, she let out a scream or two.
The baby’s heartbeat kept falling precipitously during contractions, she says. At the same time, Dr. Hess’s husband…