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‘It was insane’: North Andover woman gives birth to fast-arriving baby in her kitchen

“I went over and put my hands between her legs and felt the baby’s head,” said Eliza Barnard's husband, Keith.

Keith and Eliza Barnard with their son Kohl and new baby daughter.

Last week in North Andover, Eliza Barnard was caught by surprise when her labor went by much faster than she anticipated — and her husband Keith literally caught that surprise when his new daughter, Nylah Lou, was born on their kitchen floor.

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Last Monday evening, Eliza, whose due date wasn’t until Friday, started experiencing stomach pains and cramps, but they didn’t think much of it and went to bed. Then she woke up in the middle of the night and started experiencing contractions.

Even though they knew she was beginning labor, two years ago when their son was born, she was in labor for 18 hours, so they were in no rush to get to the hospital. 

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Keith did some work on his computer while Eliza took a shower and did her hair and makeup. 

“I’m starting to get a little bit nervous, but again, it’s all kind of normal to me and my wife,” Keith told Boston.com. 

But then Eliza’s water broke as they were on their way out the door.

“She immediately says to me, ‘I think the baby’s coming,’” Keith said. “I went over and put my hands between her legs and felt the baby’s head.” 

The whole thing happened within a 7-minute period, said Keith. With 911 on the phone, the paramedics advised Keith on what to do once the baby was delivered, and eventually arrived to help.

“I cut the umbilical cord in my kitchen,” Keith said.

Eliza and Nylah Lou were transported by ambulance to Lawrence General Hospital. Both are healthy and doing well, though there have been some extra doctor’s appointments because if you don’t cut the umbilical cord quickly enough, there’s a risk of high blood count, which can cause complications.

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Keith said Eliza attributes this quick delivery, which is a big contrast from her previous 18-hour labor, to a tea that she started drinking that’s supposed to help with baby delivery.

The excitement of the delivery was heightened by the fact that their daughter is the first girl born in Keith’s family in 64 years, after 10 consecutive boys, and Eliza was the first girl in her family in over 70 years when she was born.

And there’s also irony in the location: The Barnards’ home used to be a dentist’s office, before Keith renovated it back into a residential house. The kitchen, where the baby delivered, was the surgical floor of the dentist’s office.

Overall, Keith says they’re just happy that all involved are healthy, but the situation was certainly jarring.

“There’s no downplaying it — it was insane,” Keith said. 

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