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Respiratory therapist delivers own grandchild in garage of daughter’s home

VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital's Wendy Burch is glad she was in the right place at the right time.

grandmother holds her granddaughter Wendy Burch, RRT, delivered her own granddaughter, Amelia Montague, in February 2023. (Contributed photo)

By Kristy Fowler

A doting grandmother anxiously awaiting the birth of her fifth grandchild, Wendy Burch, RRT, already had plans to travel from her home in South Hill, Virginia to Fort Huachuca, Arizona to give love and support to her daughter, Cassidy Montague, and her growing family. The respiratory therapist at VCU Health Community Memorial Hospital also spent a decade as a paramedic, keeping up to date with her certifications through CMH’s Garland Birthing Center

Burch’s medical expertise and moral support were crucial for Montague, as she soon realized her mother was in the right place at the right time. 

“Cassidy wanted me there, not only because I’m her mother, but also because of my health care experience,” Burch said.

Burch arrived in sunny Arizona to help with preparations in February. While Montague went into labor early the next morning, she was sent home by the hospital because she wasn’t dilated. Later that day, the family realized the baby was coming and started packing up to return to the hospital. 

Burch was inside the house with her grandson, “little” Jimmie, when she heard yelling coming from the garage. She ran to see what was happening, only to find Montague standing in a pool of water. After a brief pause of shock, Burch’s training kicked in. She checked and the baby was crowning. Burch knew there was no time to get to the hospital. She told her son-in-law, Jimmie Montague, to call 911, get blankets and towels. 

“I had delivered one child as a paramedic before, but this was my child giving birth to her child,” Burch said. “It’s hard to put into words what I was feeling, but it was an amazing, wonderful experience.”

The baby girl’s shoulder was initially facing the wrong way and stuck. But after one more push, she flipped around and safely went into Burch’s arms.

Family poses for a picture

The Montague family is thankful their beloved “Mimi” was there to welcome Amelia into the world. From left to right: Jimmie Montague; dad, Amelia; newborn, “little” Jimmie; big brother, and Cassidy Montague; mom. (Contributed photo)

"Jimmie and I are incredibly grateful Mom could be there. I’m glad everything worked out and we are both okay,” Montague said. “How amazing is it that my mom got to deliver her grandbaby? I said from the start I wanted a home birth, but I never imagined giving birth in my garage, much less my mom being the one delivering her!”

A few minutes later, the ambulance arrived and paramedics helped Burch’s son-in-law cut the umbilical cord. The family was taken to the hospital to make sure mom and baby, Amelia, were healthy, and stayed overnight to recuperate. The next day, they were all reunited at home with Burch and “little” Jimmie. 

Amelia’s journey into the world is one her family will never forget, all thanks to the medical training and loving care of Burch. 

“God always puts us where we need to be, when we need to be there,” Montague said. “Mom has always been my go-to person and best friend. God knew I needed her there, at that moment, and He made it happen.”