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She thought it was false labor. Instead, a Mississippi mom gave birth in parking garage.

Jermia Cooper was born healthy at 7 pounds, 7 ounces on Aug. 6, 2018, even if it was in the parking garage of the hospital.
Jermia Cooper was born healthy at 7 pounds, 7 ounces on Aug. 6, 2018, even if it was in the parking garage of the hospital. Courtesy Forrest General Hospital

A pregnant Mississippi woman almost made it to the hospital for what she thought was a false alarm.

She got as far as the parking garage.

Tameka Cooper of Magee thought she was in the midst of Braxton Hicks contractions, also called false labor. But her doctor told her instead that she was in early labor and told her to go straight to Forrest General Hospital, according to a press release from the hospital.

Early labor transitioned more quickly than anyone thought it would. She was in active labor by the time she made it to the parking garage near The Family Birthplace wing of the hospital.

“I tried to walk, but the pain was unbearable. By the time I walked one step, my water broke and out she came,” Cooper said.

Rickye Brown of Hattiesburg was standing at the entrance with his son-in-law when Cooper cried for help. He sent his son inside for a doctor and rushed to help Cooper.

“When I ran over, I saw that her water broke. The baby was coming out, and I could see her head,” Brown said.

“That’s when I knew I needed to find somewhere for Miss Tameka to lay down. It was hot outside, and she looked like she could barely stand. So I opened the door to the back seat of the car and helped her get in. She was still holding the baby, and I saw the nurses coming. The doctors and the nurses came and did the rest. I just did what I could just to help her.”

Cooper’s daughter, Jermia, was 7 pounds, 7 ounces and was pronounced healthy by the medical staff who quickly arrived to help. Brown, his wife Rashona and son Kaidunne, were able to visit with Cooper and her daughter.

“Every pregnancy and labor is different, and the timing of when someone goes into labor and how quickly the baby arrives is unpredictable,” said Jeffrey Hudson, the physician who delivered Tameka’s baby.

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