By Pamela Dozois
Folklore has it that babies are delivered by storks. Ryder Schaeffer was delivered in a Mazda on Highway 154 during a speed run from Lake Cachuma to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital.
On May 24, Morgan Garcia began having contractions between 4:30 and 5 a.m., but they weren’t very strong and her water had not broken. So her partner, Josh Schaeffer, who is an electrician, went to work around 6:30 a.m. and their 6-year-old son Tristen went off to kindergarten. The couple lives in Chumash Village, just below Bradbury Dam.
“I had just been to Samsun Clinic the day before and I was told that I had dilated only one centimeter and the baby wasn’t due for another five days,” Garcia said. “So I wasn’t overly concerned. I decided to visit my friend next door and I walked slowly on her treadmill for a half an hour, just chatting. Walking seemed to help. I returned home to tidy up the house and around 12:30 p.m. the pains began to get stronger. I called Josh and my parents. Then my water broke around 1 p.m. That’s when everything started to happen so fast.”
“Tristen had taken seven hours to deliver and he was two days past the due date,” Garcia said. “With Tristen, my water broke, then the contractions started. With Ryder the contractions came first, then my water broke, so it was just the opposite of what I had expected to happen.”
Josh rushed home from work, arriving around 1:30 p.m. Her neighbor was with her, keeping her company. They quickly installed their car seat and started down Highway 154 for Santa Barbara. She recalls that a little bit of traffic slowed things down, and the weather was overcast and sprinkling a little.
“It was absolutely terrifying,” said Garcia. “Everything began to happen so fast.”
“Josh said he knew something big was about to happen when I let out one long scream, which seemed to him to last for minutes,” she said. “When I felt the baby’s head between my legs and I still had my pants on, well there was only one thing to do — and fast. I slipped down my pants and with only one or two pushes, Ryder just slid right into my waiting hands. He wasn’t going to wait for us to get to the hospital.
“I was holding his head in my hands and looking at him in amazement. Then I laid him on my stomach. We were still attached.
“Josh had called 911 just minutes before the baby arrived,” said Garcia. “He pulled over at the first available, safe spot he could, which was at Call Box 288, a few minutes after Ryder was born. Luckily it was a really a big turnout, with enough room for our car, the sheriff’s car and the ambulance.
“I wrapped Ryder in a swaddling blanket I had stuffed into a diaper bag and then in my robe, which I had planned to wear in the hospital, and waited for the ambulance to arrive, both of us reveling in the beauty and joy of the moment. The sheriff arrived in five minutes and the ambulance arrived in 10 minutes.
“The 911 dispatcher told Josh to tie a string or a ribbon around the umbilical cord, so he ripped my bra apart to make a tie, which he fastened around the umbilical cord. Josh was asked by the EMT if he would like to cut the umbilical cord, which he did, at their direction. The ambulance then took us to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and Josh followed it to the hospital.”
At the hospital, Ryder weighed in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces, and was 19 inches long. His time of birth was 1:55 p.m. He was then greeted with open arms by his big brother, Tristen, and his grandparents, Connie and Jorge Garcia, who had picked Tristen up from school. Ryder’s paternal grandparents are Lisa and Dave Schaeffer.
“Tristen always wants to hold him and kiss him. He is such a good big brother, and a big help to me as well,” Garcia said. “He loves his new little brother.”
“Now that it’s all over, I can truly say that I am so happy that I delivered my own baby,” she added. “He just slid into my awaiting hands. What a glorious experience.”