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Strangers on a train, including Raleigh woman, play part in a baby’s surprise arrival

An Irish Rail train
An Irish Rail train Irish Rail

The Irish train was on its way from Galway to Dublin, filled with a jumble of people from all over the world.

Becky and Lee Evans of Raleigh were seated beside each other in a section of four seats.

One of the train’s employees suddenly rushed down the aisle. There was a medical emergency. A woman was in labor, and anyone with a medical background was needed in the bathroom.

Becky, a former neonatal nurse and mother of four, knew she had to help.

With her nursing skills — and the help of another nurse, a general practitioner and a fourth person — a baby girl was born Tuesday afternoon on the floor of the Irish Rail train.

A distressed passenger

Becky, who is now retired, and Lee, a Raleigh attorney, were in Ireland on vacation. The trip was a present from their four children for the couple’s 60th birthdays.

The two were just finishing their eight-day trip. Sitting across from them in the train was a young woman, about 20 years old.

She was clearly distressed from the beginning of the ride and told them she was six months pregnant. The woman repeatedly left her seat and went to the bathroom at the front of the car.

The last time she got up, the woman was gone for a long time.

Becky told her husband that it was a shame that the woman was still having morning sickness six months into her pregnancy.

That’s when the call for help came. The woman was actually in labor. (She was further along in her pregnancy than six months, apparently.)

Becky got up from her seat and rushed to the bathroom area. Another nurse joined her, as did a woman who had been talking to the pregnant woman earlier. Together, they got the woman laid down on the floor outside of the bathroom.

The train stopped at a small station, and an ambulance was called. But the labor was already far along.

They had no supplies.

IMG_0927.jpg
Lee and Becky Evans

Becky began helping the woman with her breathing, as she knew how to do from giving birth four times herself.

After the train had been stopped for several minutes, a man sitting behind Lee and facing the opposite end of the car took out his headphones. He had been watching a movie and had missed the commotion.

The man, later identified as Dr. Alan Devine, learned from the person beside him that a woman was in labor and ran to help. Although a doctor, Devine hadn’t delivered a baby in many years.

Everyone was afraid.

The woman told Becky that the people in her life didn’t even know she was pregnant yet.

The train passengers offered up blankets and water, anything they could do to help.

Finally, the doctor delivered the baby girl. She wasn’t initially breathing, but Becky knew what to do from her neonatal background. After the breathing started, Becky laid the baby on the mom’s chest as she was wheeled away to the ambulance, which had arrived.

Becky only knew the woman’s first name.

‘A little bit of hope’

The Evanses spent the next day traveling back to the United States, arriving back to their home in Raleigh on Wednesday night.

Out of curiosity, Lee decided to Google the event to see if he could find out any more information about the woman.

Several news articles immediately popped up, detailing the story, and mentioning the unknown American nurse who helped.

RTÉ, Ireland’s national television and radio broadcast company, reported that the doctor “listened to and was calmed by the American nurse who counted the contractions loudly and kept the situation calm.”

The articles reported that both the mother and baby, who were not named, were doing well.

That’s the only part that Becky really cared about. The rest, she said, was just what anyone else would have done.

Before the incident, Becky said she had been feeling disheartened about the atmosphere of divisiveness in the United States.

Now, she’s feeling more inspired, she said.

“Everyone was so nice there and worked so hard together, it gave me back a little bit of hope and a good feeling,” she said.

From Lee’s point of view in the train car with the other passengers, he felt the same hope in humanity.

“I think it was amazing and a blessing that all these people came together at one time,” he said. “Everyone was a stranger on that train. Then three or four people pulled together and successfully delivered a baby.”

The BBC reported that the baby girl on the train will have 25 years of free travel from the company.

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