7th Grader Delivers Baby Brother

British Columbia boy learned about delivery from medical books.

Aug. 25, 2011— -- Gaelan Edwards first met his new brother in an unusual way: The 12-year-old actually helped deliver the baby after his mother couldn't make it to the hospital.

Danielle Edwards of Campbell River, British Columbia, told Canada's CTV she woke up on Saturday around 2 a.m. already in labor.

"I just felt a lot of pressure, and I was laying on my side and I rolled over onto my back," said Edwards, 30.

That's when she called for her son, Gaelan.

"Gaelan, when you see the shoulders, I need you to hang on to the shoulders and I need to you pull them out," Edwards instructed her son.

Gaelan, who said he'd seen TV shows on childbirth and had read a few medical books his mother kept in the home, remembered what he learned.

"The books have different ways to pull a baby out," Gaelan told CTV.

That's when he took the baby's shoulders and eased him out.

He then went to get scissors, a clamp and a blanket and cut the umbilical cord. After that, he wrapped his new baby brother in a blanket.

The family then went to the hospital where mother and baby got a clean bill of health.

Delivery a Natural Process

Dr. Salih Yasin, associate professor and vice chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Miami's Miller School of Medicine, said women can sometimes go into labor very quickly, especially if they've previously given birth, as Edwards had four other times.

If there are no complications, delivery isn't as daunting as it may seem.

"Birth is a natural process that the human body is made to take care of on its own," he said. "There are many stories of babies being delivered in cars or in parking lots."

In some situations, delivering a baby can be potentially traumatizing for people who are not medically trained.

"There's a lot of blood and secretions, and that can be terrifying," he said. "If the baby were to start coming out and gets stuck, that can be very scary. In case things don't go the natural way and something goes wrong, that person may have trauma for the rest of his or her life."

Gaelan, his mother and his new baby brother are all very fortunate things went as well as they did. Even though the birth was easy, Gaelan is still one extraordinary 12-year-old.

Alan Hilfer, chief psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., says Gaelan's actions were remarkable. In addition to all the blood and body fluids, there were many other challenges he had to face.

"He's in an unfamiliar and brand-new situation he's never been in before, there is the knowledge that you have to do something to be able to help with this delivery, and there's a life at stake," Hilfer said. "Even more importantly, there is so much happening at once and kids can get easily distracted, but he stayed calm and focused. ... Many grown men and grown women can't even handle something like this."

Such a stressful event can have two potential outcomes, Hilfer added.

"It can be turned into something to be traumatized by," he said, "or something to be proud of."

Gaelan seems destined for the latter, since he said he's considering a career in medicine. He also seems destined for an extra-special relationship with his new brother.

"I held him before anybody," he said. "Even my mom."