Church Hill woman gives birth in Weigel’s parking lot: ‘I cannot believe this is happening right now’

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KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) – Jessica Burke was expecting to give birth to her second child on November 22nd, 2020. She never expected her child to come two days earlier and be delivered in a Weigel’s parking lot.

Burke told News Channel 11’s Kelly Grosfield that she was feeling some cramps Friday morning and was told by family to go for a walk. Before even making it two houses away from her own, the pain worsened. She called her boyfriend to get her down the street and bring her home.

Once she was home, she realized this was serious. Burke and her boyfriend, Cody Smith, then left for Johnson City Medical Center, only they would never make it. Worsening contractions forced them to call 911. While on the phone with the dispatcher, they were advised to pull over and wait for the ambulance to arrive.

“They asked me where the nearest place was that I could pull off and was like let’s pull off in a Weigel’s parking lot, meet us there,” said Cody Smith.

The idea of giving birth in a parking lot was never one that had crossed Burke’s mind, especially considering she had planned out the birth to the last detail and none of this was ever in the cards.

“I’m the type of person who prepares really well. My mind was just like I cannot believe this is happening right now,” said Burke.

While waiting for the ambulance the pain worsened, and the thought crossed their minds that they might have to deliver this baby themselves.

“I was like I don’t know what I’m going to do. I’ve never prepared for this, I never even thought about preparing for this,” said Smith.

It was a story out of a sitcom or a movie, giving birth in a parking lot seemed like a distant thought, but now it was their reality.

“If you read anything about childbirth or you ask doctors, they tell you it’s not anything like the movies like you have time to get to the hospital, just be vigilant about it, and I proved them wrong I guess,” said Burke.

Thankfully for Burke and Smith, the ambulance arrived and after moving from their car to the stretcher and into the back of the bus, around three minutes later, baby Hayes Conley was born.

When Kayla Duncan and her partner arrived on the scene, they had a feeling they would be delivering this baby on the spot. “You never know when it’s that time when you’re actually going to help deliver a baby,” said Critical Care Paramedic with Sullivan Co. EMS, Kayla Duncan.

For Duncan, it’s a call she’ll never forget and for the parents, it’s a story they’ll always remember. “I can’t wait to tell him when he gets about 16 or 18 years old, hey, you were born in a Weigel’s parking lot,” said Smith.

November 20th isn’t only Hayes Conley’s birthday but also the day a forever friendship formed. “You don’t forget these kinds of calls, it’s not often that we get them, and it’s not often that we actually get to deliver so she’ll be in my memory with her child forever,” said Duncan.

At 8 pounds, 5 ounces, Hayes Conley was welcomed into this crazy year, in an unbelievable way, but his parents wouldn’t have it any other way.

After all this, Smith said if you’re an expecting father, look into what to do in the event you might have to deliver a baby because you never know when it can happen to you.

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