SACRAMENTO, Calif — Baby Maverick's birth was far from the usual events that happen at UC Davis Medical Center.
With two perfect strangers and a parking lot in the mix, Madison Fritter said she'll be telling the story of his birth for years to come.
“There were so many factors that could have gone wrong, but everyone was in the right place at the right time - thank my lucky stars for that,” Fritter said.
On an early March morning, well before the sun came up, Fritter's water broke while she was at her Auburn home. She knew that meant her second child would soon be on the way.
With her first pregnancy being an at-home natural birth, she decided her second would be done at UC Davis Medical Center.
She got on the phone with the hospital to let them know what had happened. While she had the option to go to the hospital, she opted to stay at home and rest up until she had to leave.
“I knew from my first birth that birth is a whole experience. It’s exhausting, so I decided to go back to bed and just try to doze off,” Fritter said.
Her mother and sister, who lived in the Bay Area, caught word of the news and hurried over to Auburn. By 6 a.m., Fritter's home was a peaceful scene. She, her mom, and her sister were watching TV and her husband was making breakfast.
Fritter savored those moments. One of her biggest concerns during pregnancy were the COVID-19 rules at the hospital. She said that, while her husband would be by her side in the big moment, her mom and sister wouldn't be.
“I just wanted to stay at home as long as possible because of COVID rules, and I just wanted to be around my family and around love and people that surrounded me with good energy,” Fritter said.
But, that peaceful scene changed when light contractions suddenly turned intense and fast. The family packed their bags and hit the road together en route to UC Davis Medical Center.
“When we got in the car, I just could tell something was happening, but it took about 40 minutes to get to the hospital,” she said.
As the family arrived at the hospital and parked on the second level of the parking garage, Fritter knew that baby Maverick was on his way right then and there.
“As soon as we got there and I got out of the car, I was like 'this baby is coming,'” she said.
The pillows and blankets that they brought over to spend the night at the hospital were immediately thrown to the ground as the family prepared to deliver the baby in the parking garage.
“I looked at my sister and I said, ‘I’m giving birth in a parking garage, right now? This is happening?’ and my sister goes, ‘This is happening!’” she said, recalling the surreal moment.
A pregnant Fritter struggled to get to the ground for the birth until an absolute stranger ran in to make the save. The stranger helped her get on the ground, control her breathing, and prepare her for the birth.
“His name is ‘Dave.’ That’s all I know about him, but I’ll remember him for the rest of my life,” Fritter said.
In next 10 seconds, everything came together and baby Maverick was born. The next moments had a lot of yelling as Maverick began to cry, her husband started calling for security, and a different stranger called out to her saying that she was a nurse.
The end result was a healthy baby, a fire department en route, and Jenna Ricks, an off-duty labor and delivery nurse from Adventist Health, at her side.
“She (Ricks) was actually visiting her newborn, getting into the car while I just happened to be in the same spot in the parking garage…,” Fritter said.
She had all the reasons in the world to be stressed or frantic, but it was the exact opposite. She felt a calm.
"I felt like I was in good hands. I was never nervous because she (Ricks) was there, I had my sister, I had my mom, my husband (and) everyone,” Fritter said.
While initially sad about her mother and sister not being with her during the birth, she ultimately had them both by her side at the end.
“Couldn’t have asked for something better,” Fritter said.
Years down the line, she said that she'll be telling this story to her family and friends. While a parking lot birth and the unexpected help were big highlights, the one detail she'll never leave behind is that her sister was there for the moment as well.
She said that the moment when all the pieces came together and her sister caught the baby and said "you did it!” will stay with her forever.
Weeks after the birth, Fritter said everyone is doing well and she still carries an insurmountable amount of gratitude for "Dave" and Jenna Ricks for helping her in that moment.