‘I’m gonna push’: First-time B.C. mother delivers her own baby on way to hospital

When a B.C. woman gave birth to her first child recently, she had no idea she would end up bringing her son into the world herself.

Vanessa Dang Kumamoto and her husband Matt welcomed their son Kobi after an adventure they will not soon forget.

On March 8, Vanessa went to Costco with Matt and her father-in-law. She started feeling some contractions in the parking lot so she went home to relax and get their hospital bag, just in case.

Vanessa was in labour as they made their way from their Steveston home to B.C. Children’s Hospital but they had not gone far when Vanessa realized they would not make it.

“I gave birth to Kobi on the road,” she said.

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Mother describes giving birth in Richmond fire hall parking lot

They had pulled over to the side of Russ Baker Way, near the airport, and when Matt had gone to the nearby firehall to seek help, Vanessa gave birth to Kobi in the car.

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“I did skin-to-skin with Kobi and we tied up his umbilical cord with a sweater string (to stop) the blood flow,” she said.

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At this point, Matt was on the phone with 911, receiving instructions.

Two ambulances showed up and the new family was transported to B.C. Children’s Hospital.

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“For the most part, I think I was pretty, pretty calm,” Vanessa said.

“You know, it’s funny, I actually watched a video of someone giving birth a few days before. And so that was sort of just all in my head, like remembering that video and how she did skin-to-skin. So I just sort of did the same thing.”

Kobi is the ninth grandchild, with all previous children born in the hospital and Vanessa said they were hoping to make it but from the end of the Costco trip to Kobi’s birth was only two hours.

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“I remember telling Matthew, this is it, I’m gonna push, I see his head crowning, I’m gonna push.”

David Kumamoto, Kobi’s grandfather, said he was waiting at B.C. Children’s Hospital for them to arrive and was surprised to receive a phone call telling him they didn’t make it in time.

“So we turn around, came right back to the fire hall. I ran up to the truck and I saw my son sitting in the seat, dazed, sweaty,” David said.

“And I looked over to Vanessa and I saw Kobi in her arms with the umbilical cord still attached. So I asked her how she was and she said she’s fine.”

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David said his first worry, upon hearing the news, was about Vanessa.

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“I asked, was everything okay?” David said. “She said yes, I caught the baby as it came out before it hit the floor.”

Kobi appears to already be a Vancouver Canucks fan, wearing the team’s insignia on his hat.

Kobi arrived 10 days early but despite being born in a truck, he is healthy and both he and Vanessa are thriving.

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