DOWNEY - While it's not unusual for Unsworth Elementary School to welcome new children to campus every year, last month the "Home of the Suns" experienced a rare first when a pregnant mother went into labor and gave birth right inside the school cafeteria.After a morning of false contractions, 28-year-old Maria Armenta wasn't too worried initially when she began feeling labor pains around 12 'o clock on Friday, May 20. In fact, Armenta had just visited the doctor's office earlier that day and was still expecting to deliver her baby on May 28. However, after several minutes of painful contractions, Maria's husband, David, knew something was wrong. "Unlike the earlier false ones, these contractions didn't go away," said David Armenta, 32, who was home with his wife when the labor pains began. "I started timing the contractions and they went from being three to five minutes apart to about two to four minutes apart…After about 30 minutes, we decided to go to the hospital." Quickly, the couple got into the car with their 3-year-old daughter, Emma, and headed for Unsworth Elementary School to pick up their son, Josh, who had just returned to school with his kindergarten class after going on his first field trip to a farm in Irvine. "We knew that Josh got out at 1:30 p.m. so we decided to go pick him up then head over to the hospital," said David Armenta. "So I called the school and they had just showed up, the bus was parked." Once the couple arrived, Armenta ran to the office, checked his son out of school and grabbed him from his classroom, but by the time he returned to the car, Maria knew the baby was soon to come. "We're not going to make it to the hospital - I feel the need to push," she said. After dialing 911, David Armenta, who has participated in EMT training before, found some gloves and towels in the car and notified school officials, who led the couple to the school cafeteria. Unsworth principal Yolanda Cornair moved quickly after members of the staff informed her about the impending birth. "It was just after lunch so fortunately the cafeteria was clean when we put her in there," said Cornair. Once inside the school cafeteria and multi-purpose room, school staff laid towels down for Maria Armenta who delivered a baby girl in a matter of minutes.\ "The dispatcher on the phone asked, 'Is the baby crowning?' I said, 'no,' at first, but once I looked I saw that the baby was crowning," said David Armenta with a laugh. "After two pushes, the baby was out." Armenta said he wrapped baby Alina in towels, keeping her warm until paramedics arrived on the scene. "This is the first time ever something like this has happened at our school," said Cornair. "It was a happy occasion. Parents were cheering as the parents came out with the baby." Downey paramedics transported Maria and baby Alina to Downey Medical Regional Center, where both were treated and released the following day. David Armenta said his wife initially wanted to go on the field trip with her son, but later decided against it, opting to keep her doctor's appointment instead.
********** Published: June 2, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 7