Refusing help, woman gives birth aboard T
By C. Kalimah Redd, Globe Correspondent and Mac Daniel, Globe Staff, 7/31/2003
A 42-year-old Braintree woman gave birth to a baby boy while standing on an inbound Red Line train yesterday morning, refusing help from stunned passengers who heard her moan and seconds later looked down to find her baby on the floor.
Witnesses told police that Joyce M. Judge, a former nurse who later said she was on the way to a Boston hospital, kept quietly refusing help during and after the delivery.
''`Thanks for your concern, we're OK,''' she said, according to Chris Chin of Duxbury. Standing 4 feet away from Judge, Chin said, he saw her tie the umbilical cord in a knot and wrap the baby in a silk scarf. ''She cradled the baby in one arm and grabbed the handrail with the other and continued to ride the T and stare out the window.''
Bill Mahoney, also of Duxbury, watched the scene unfold: ''It was simply surreal.''
Transit officials said they received a call from the train operator for medical assistance and had an MBTA official waiting at the JFK-UMass station on the platform when the train arrived. But Judge refused help and sprinted up a flight of stairs toward the turnstiles, MBTA Lieutenant Gary Fredericks said. She then grabbed some newspaper to wrap up the baby, ran across the platform toward Morrissey Boulevard, and hustled up another flight of stairs to the Columbia Road overpass.
MBTA police intercepted her and took the baby boy, who was breathing and kicking but not crying. As two officers examined the baby in the front seat of a police SUV, Fredericks said, Judge pounded on their backs and screamed: ''Let me see!''
Mother and child were doing fine yesterday at Boston Medical Center, authorities said. Officials from the state Department of Social Services are investigating.
Clutching the faded pink and beige silk scarf, Judge sat in her hospital bed and told a reporter how she woke up at about 5:15 a.m. yesterday and began vomiting. She decided to go to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Brighton and left her two other children, ages 15 and 11, at the Motel 6 in Braintree, where the family has been living for the past year.
But once she was on the train in North Quincy, she felt the baby coming. ''It wasn't too painful, it happened so fast,'' Judge said. ''The contractions were from 1 to 2 minutes apart. I said, `Let me get off this train.' ''
People, she said, started screaming. When asked why she refused help from other passengers, Judge said: ''They couldn't do anything on the train so I thought it was better to get to the hospital.''
Passengers, many of whom responded to a Boston.com announcement seeking witnesses and were then contacted by phone, said they were startled by the chain of events.
After the train left North Quincy, while crossing the Neponset River around 7:20 a.m., passengers reported hearing a muffled groan. Judge, dressed in a pink velour top and matching skirt, stood in the middle of the fourth car. Suddenly, her water broke.
''At first I thought someone spilled coffee, but it kept dripping,'' said Chin, 32. ''But she stood staring out the window ... I started doubting what I saw.''
About 90 seconds later, Chin said, ''I saw a head, then full baby fall out from her skirt, hit the floor sideways and slide the length of the doorway, stopping when he bumped up against the next row of seats. Still she stared out the window. Either she didn't know it happened or didn't want to acknowledge it.''
Judge bent down, picked up the baby and wrapped it in her scarf, Chin said.
As passengers slowly realized what had happened, witnesses said, the train rallied around the new mother. People offered sweaters and implored her to sit or lie down. Still, Judge refused.
''I'm fine,'' she repeated throughout the trip. ''I'm fine.''
With the JFK-UMass stop still three minutes away, passengers, some of whom vomited in the wake of the bloody birth, inundated State Police with cell phone calls. Dispatchers told passengers to ask Judge if she had passed the placenta. Passengers yelled back that she had not. Dispatchers asked if the baby was breathing. Others yelled back that they weren't sure.
At one point, Judge took some nearby newspapers and placed them on the floor to soak up the blood. Some witnesses heard Judge apologize for the mess.
After leaving the train and heading for the stairs up to the station's main lobby, witnesses said, the placenta fell to the platform. Judge turned around, grabbed the afterbirth, put it in her shoulder bag, and headed upstairs.
''She just literally picked it up with her hand and put it in some kind of bag she was carrying, and this was in mid-stride ... It was the craziest thing I've ever seen,'' said Robert Busby, of Weymouth.
Lisa Judge of Rhode Island, who visited her sister yesterday, said Joyce Judge didn't realize how dilated she was. ''She said she thought she could make it'' to the hospital, Lisa Judge said.
Lisa Judge said she has taken in her sister's children at times when she has had ''spells, she would turn inward and wouldn't talk to anybody.''
Marie Judge of Roxbury, said her daughter seemed stressed recently and admitted she was pregnant only when Marie Judge confronted her a month ago.
DSS, which has no record of any prior contact with the family, placed Judge's two other children in temporary custody yesterday. Denise Monteiro, a DSS spokeswoman, said the baby will not be released to Judge, who said she works for Boston Public Schools in food and nutritional services, unless the agency is convinced she can care for the child. The hospital is conducting a psychiatric evaluation of Judge, Monteiro said.
''We're trying to find out what prompted this behavior,'' she said. ''It makes us concerned about her and it makes us concerned about her baby.''
Jul 31, '03
One of my good friends gave birth while taking a shower in preparation for the water birth of her 6th child . . .while her hubby was filling up the hot tub and the midwife was getting her stuff ready. Baby just sorta came out . . . like the train story.
If only it was always that easy.
Jul 31, '03
well that is certainly special.
Like Stevie said, if only it were ALWAYS that easy.
Jul 31, '03
ChooooChoooo - Chattanuga baby.........