This Richmond couple planned to give birth at a hospital. Newborn ‘River James’ had different plans.

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Posted at 8:07 AM, Jan 21, 2022

RICHMOND, Va. — A Richmond couple is thanking the first responders who rushed to their home last weekend for the unexpected arrival of their newborn son.

Ashley Harrington, 38, said she started having cramps and contractions at 3 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15. She and her husband, Sean, thought they had enough time to make it to the hospital.

However, Ashley began to give birth in the bathroom of their Fulton Hill home just two hours later.

“At 5:45 a.m. things instantly changed,” she recalled. “I said, 'this baby is coming right now.' And at 5:50 a.m., he was born. It was very, very quick. Zero to 60 real quick.”

Sean, 38, said he felt like he was in a movie. He called 911 and the dispatcher helped him with the birth.

“Somebody on the phone asked, ‘Is your door locked because paramedics are on the way.’ But, baby’s head is in my hand. On the outside I’m like, 'It is locked.' On the inside, I’m screaming internally because I have to rush downstairs, unlock the door, come back up,” Sean explained. “By the time I come back out the head was completely out. Baby’s face was looking right at me.”

Firefighters from Richmond Fire Station 8 and Richmond Ambulance Authority arrived just in time to assist with the delivery.

CBS 6’s Brendan King asked the couple what was going through their mind when they realized their son wasn’t going to wait.

“It happened really quickly,” Ashley responded. “No time to make the decision if we were going to go to the hospital or not. The decision was made for us. So, this was happening right now and we will just get through it.”

A car birth would’ve been much more dangerous, Sean said.

“We kind of looked at each other and thought 'wow that really happened,'” Ashley and Sean explained. “You think about when you take your vows when you get married, through thick and thin. I don’t know if that was thick or thin, but we got through it. We did it together.”

River James was born at seven pounds, five ounces. The couple said it’s a coincidence that his name closely resembles the city’s James River, as "River" and "James" are family names.

Both mother and baby are happy and healthy. The family wanted to thank the first responders who rushed to their aid.

“It’s just nice to say thank you for all of your hard work,” Ashley stated. “For everything they do and how amazing they were to us through our experience through them.”



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