Millerton woman gives birth in car

Daisy Jelliff-Bennett holds her newborn son, Loxley Wilder Bennett, who was born in a car while on the way to a midwife.

A Millerton woman recently gave birth to her third child more naturally than she planned – while in the car on the way to her midwife’s facility.

“We were planning to have the baby at September Hill Midwifery, a home birth suite in Burdett, N.Y.,” said Daisy Jelliff-Bennett. “We actually had a baby appointment that day but ended up leaving the house early because contractions started. I was 36 weeks along and not expecting an early baby.”

Jelliff-Bennett packed her bags while her husband Justin made arrangements for their two boys, Alcott, 6, and Walden, 4. The boys’ grandparents planned to pick them up in Burdett.

“Right before we got in the car my contractions got closer and more intense. Based on my other two pregnancies we thought we had at least six hours until baby arrived,” said Jelliff-Bennett.

It turns out she had less than 45 minutes. When she knew the baby was coming, she told Justin to pull the car over. He got to the passenger side just in time to catch the couple’s third son, Loxley, and wrap him in his flannel shirt that was in the car.

The couple’s two older boys were excited to be part of their new brother’s birth.

“My six-year-old was directly behind me and was playing with my hair trying to take care of me. My four-year-old was in the driver’s side back seat and as soon as the baby came out he said, ‘Oh! Should I sing to him?’ My kids are very nurturing, so I’m not surprised at all,” she said.

Jelliff-Bennett said she planned for natural births for all three boys, but they inadvertently became more natural with each baby. She planned a home birth with Alcott but gave birth at 36 weeks in the hospital after becoming ill. Her second pregnancy was healthier, and Walden was born on his due date at Jelliff-Bennett’s parent’s lake house on Keuka Lake.

“I was especially thankful to be planning a home birth this time so I didn’t have to worry about the hospital not letting my husband in or having to wear a mask during labor, like so many other expecting mothers. It’s definitely a very scary time to be bringing a baby into the world,” Jelliff-Bennett said of being pregnant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

She said while natural or home births aren’t for everyone, she’s happy she explored her options and found ones that have worked for her and her family.

“I started out at a conventional OB/GYN with my first pregnancy and quickly realized it wasn’t for me,” she said. “When I met my doula and found out the whole world of options I actually had, I then found my midwife and never looked back. I have three beautiful healthy children and I would never go back and change any of my experiences.”