Woman in Labor Treks Through Woods To Get to Hospital After Snow Blocks Roads

A heavily pregnant woman entering labor was forced to trek through woods blanketed in thick snow when a winter storm blocked off her rural home.

The woman, who was only identified by her first name Noel in local reports, lives in Stafford County, Virginia, and was already several days past her due date when around a foot of snow fell in her area last Monday.

Her husband, Kris, had spent the early afternoon trying to clear the driveway and their small, dead-end street, cutting and shoveling away branches to make sure they could get out if the baby—their fourth—was to arrive.

However, around a quarter of a mile away he came across a barrier of fallen trees, completely blocking their path to the main road. Among the mass were the remnants of their nearest power line, which had left their home without electricity.

Kris' attempts to navigate his way through the woody wall convinced him that there was no way that his wife would be able to squeeze through if she was to go into labor.

A couple of hours after returning to the house, Noel's waters broke and the couple promptly discovered that it wasn't just a physical barrier cutting them off from the rest of the world. Their phone signal wasn't strong enough for them to call 911.

"I mean, having a home birth, with no electricity, no running water. Not ideal, not an ideal situation," Noel told WTOP.

They were eventually able to contact their relatives by text. Kris' mother, who had experience with home births, responded with practical advice and pictures of an old instruction manual. Noel's mother, meanwhile, contacted a close friend who worked at Stafford County Fire and Rescue, and got an ambulance dispatched to the house.

Unfortunately, the barrier of trees was still in the way. Two members of the team got to the house on foot by climbing over the fallen trees and threading their equipment through the tangle of branches and cables.

They told the couple that they weren't going to be able to get Noel to the ambulance and recommended that she give birth at home. However, having been told that there could be some minor complications with the birth, Noel was adamant that they find a way out.

They came up with a plan to cross onto their neighbor's property via their backyard, and then navigate their way to a different road that would be accessible to the ambulance.

There were only two problems. Noel was entering the latter stages of labor, with her contractions increasing in frequency to just two minutes apart, and there was a quarter of a mile of frozen woods in her way.

"I still was kind of in shock about the whole situation," Noel said.

"But in the back of my head, I was thinking, 'This isn't really happening. I'm not walking through the snow, in labor to get to the ambulance. And then going through creeks and fallen-down trees.'"

The trek took her around 40 minutes, but when she got to the ambulance, Kris had to leave her in order to look after their three other children at home.

Noel gave birth to a baby girl the following morning, and the couple named her Josephine. Both mother and daughter are healthy.

A woman walking through snowy woods
Heavily-pregnant Noel had to navigate frozen woods, creeks and fallen trees, in order to reach medical help. Zbynek Pospisil/iStock