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Stafford mom hikes through snowy woods to deliver her baby

Firefighters planned to deliver Josephine at home, but mom Noel insisted on a quarter-mile walk through a blizzard to get the baby to a hospital.

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A Stafford County mom is home safe with her newborn baby girl after an incredible ordeal.

First, no answer on her husband's 911 call for help. Then when the couple finally got a hold of firefighters, downed trees kept the emergency crew from driving up their street. They had to walk in.

The firefighters ended up guiding Noel, while she was in active labor, a quarter-mile through the woods just to get her back to the medic unit and on to the hospital.

It was a miracle in a storm.

The downed trees have now been pushed back and the road reopened, but what a story parents Noel and Kris have to tell. The couple has asked us not to use their last name

"She's been the sweetest baby. She just sleeps and eats," said Noel, cradling newborn Josephine in her lap. The baby girl is obviously oblivious to the chaos surrounding her birth.

"You can see there's a couple of creeks down there. And we had to go up and over there," said Kris, hiking through the woods in flip flops while holding one of the couple's three other children.

Monday's storm left the couple's street impassible, so Noel had to walk to the next road up, just to get to a medic unit.

A neighbor captured a video of them trekking the last few feet.

"I'd say a quarter-mile," said Kris. "She was having contractions every two minutes. Kept stopping and trying to encourage her. She was incredible. 

"As soon as turned onto the street, it was just trees down. All you could see was trees," said paramedic Andy Smith of Stafford County Fire and Rescue.

Smith and Firefighter Joseph Kenny had to snake their gear through downed trees and branches just to get to the house. They thought they'd have to deliver Josephine at the home. The pair worried about an earlier ultrasound that had shown Josephine was sitting sideways in the womb, Noel insisted she could make it through the woods.

"Mom was super-human. Absolutely one of the craziest things I've ever seen anybody do in the first place. And to be super pregnant and doing it. She was super-human," said Smith.

"They were so great. They just walked with me. Then we would stop every ten steps," said Noel.

Everyone agrees the most dangerous thing would have been if she'd had to stop and deliver in the woods.  

"They kept asking me, 'Do you feel the urge to push,'" said mom.

She was so relieved when she got to the ambulance, but looking out the back window on the ride to the hospital, all she could see were downed trees and stuck cars.

At one point, they had to stop, worried the medic unit would get stuck too.

Doctors delivered a healthy and happy Josephine the next morning at the Stafford Hospital. She's named for St. Joseph, who has become a kind of patron saint for firefighters.

She may be calm and quiet now, but she'll never live down her mom's ordeal. 

"I'm not ever going to let her forget it," said mom. "Every time she gets sassy. Every time she talks back, we're going to say, 'Your mom walked through a snowstorm, both ways,'" said dad.

The parents can envision her response when she's a teen. 

"'I know mom, you told us a million times!'"

But Noel will always have a comeback: "I had a baby in a snowstorm in a pandemic!"

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