A Virginia couple who were awaiting the birth of their son say they had to deliver their baby in a bathtub after the hospital told them to go home, according to WTKR.
LeeAnn Bienaime started to go into labor on the night of Aug. 23, she and her husband, Leo Bienaime, drove to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. But the couple alleges that after four hours passed, the hospital told them to go home and come back when LeeAnn’s contractions were further along.
“I was told that I should come back when my contractions were when you can’t really walk and you can’t really talk through them,” LeeAnn told the news station.
Speaking with ABC News, LeeAnn said the parents-to-be were told she couldn’t be admitted because he was only 2 centimeters dilated, and she should come back when she was at 5 centimeters.
“Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is committed to ensuring the safety of every patient and providing high-quality care,” a spokesperson for the hospital told PEOPLE in a statement.
“NMCP safely and professionally delivers approximately 2,500 babies annually,” they continued. “Whenever a patient has a question about their care and treatment we welcome the opportunity to discuss this with them in order to fully address their concerns. Due to HIPAA, we cannot discuss anything specific on an individual’s medical treatment without their authorization.”
The couple then drove 25 minutes back home. Not long after they arrived, the contractions became more powerful. LeeAnn soon found herself going to the bathroom more frequently, and then she felt her son’s head coming out.
LeeAnn wanted to wait until help arrived, but with the process clearly in motion, she headed to the bathtub as they called 911.
“I had to let instinct take over and just go with it and kind of release myself to the experience,” LeeAnn told WTKR.
Less than four hours after coming home, LeeAnn gave birth to her son, Joachim, in her bathtub.
“We were able to have a healthy birth, a healthy baby boy — that’s why I’m not completely enraged,” LeeAnn, who admits she has a high pain tolerance, said. “I feel like if it had gone another way, it would’ve been a different story.”
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Leo, in hindsight, said he would have gone with his instincts and stayed at the hospital instead of going home like they were told.
“If I could do it again, I would’ve just sat in the waiting room and not left. We would’ve pitched a tent. We would’ve started a fire. We would’ve just straight-up camped,” he said.
Though luck was on their side that night, the couple gives credit to the 911 operator who helped them through the process.
“She was the sweetest lady. I wish I could get her name and give her some cookies,” Leo recalled to WTKR.
The reactions they’ve received from families and friends after showing them pictures of Joachim’s birth have also been memorable.
“Everyone that we showed the picture to was like, ‘Wait… why is there shampoo in the background?’” Leo said.
He also offered a warning: “Don’t try this at home.”