After an incredible series of events this weekend, a healthy James Wood Jr. came into this world at 2:02 p.m. Sunday thanks to a little improvisation and a lot of love.
His mother, 42-year-old Lauri Wood, started going into labor at her home in Naugatuck this weekend and started thinking about how to get out of the house. Her street was burried under snow, and because it’s on a steep hill, there was no way the borough’s street department could plow her out.
That’s when friends and neighbors did what friends and neighbors are supposed to do: they helped out in any way they could.
Kyle Wade, a friend of Lauri's daughter, thought quickly of a way to get Lauri out of the house and to the hospital. Without a sled, he took a cargo carrier – typically seen on the hood of cars – and ripped the top off before tying rope to it. He told Lauri to get inside and they helped pull her down the road with his brothers and Lauri’s husband, James Sr.
They pulled her uphill roughly a quarter-mile from her home at 39 Tudor Lane through nearly three feet of snow to a truck waiting on nearby Carriage Drive at the corner of Harvest Lane. On Carriage Drive, they saw residents lined up with snowplows, clearing a path in the road so Lauri could get out. All told, it took about 40 grueling minutes to pull Lauri to the waiting vehicle, though it seemed like it was hours, the Wood family says.
“It was nerve-wracking,” Lauri said Tuesday from her room at Waterbury Hospital. “At first it was funny. Then it was scary. And then I started contracting so I couldn’t breathe. I had neighbors holding me up so I didn’t fall over.”
The nerves didn’t stop once she got to the hospital. Everything was going smooth until a nurse told her the baby’s heartbeat had suddenly slowed way down. Lauri had to move around to get the baby’s heartbeat moving again and eventually it did. She had an emergency cesarean section, and the baby was brought into this world at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. He was 19.5 inches long. He is the fifth child of Lauri and her husband, who have four girls ranging from five to 24.
Lauri said she’s not sure her only boy would have survived if she hadn’t been able to get out of the house. She thanks the doctors and staff at Waterbury Hospital, including Naugatuck resident Fran Winckler, a maternity nurse whom Lauri said helped tremendously.
“They were great here,” Lauri said of the hospital staff.
And she’s overwhelmed at the kindness and love of her family, friends and neighbors.
“I was shocked when they all came down,” she said while looking at her son. “They stopped for a little bit because they were so exhausted, but they were so determined. They kept going and thankfully they did because here we are. And here he is.”