A mother in labor on the way to the hospital ended up giving birth to her baby in a church parking lot on Sunday, April 22.

Hermione Grace Johnson came into the world in the parking lot of Turning Point Apostolic Church in Pitkin.

Her mother, Chelsea Rene Johnson, had intense pain earlier in the day and was traveling to meet her husband, Chase Johnson, in DeRidder so they could go to the hospital together.

“I woke up from a nap in serious pain at around 1 p.m.,” Chelsea said. “I got my mother-in-law to drive me to meet my husband.”

Carolyn Maddox was inside the church when someone came to tell her about what was going on in the parking lot.

“We were having choir practice,” Maddox said. “Our youth choir was practicing when someone ran in and told us that there was someone out there in the parking lot having a baby.”

Chelsea told her mother-in-law to pull over because she knew the baby was coming. “I literally felt her start to come out, and I knew we wouldn’t make it to the hospital. By the time we pulled over, the baby was coming. It happened within seconds.”

Maddox quickly ran outside to help. Little did she know she would be delivering a baby.

“The 911 operator told me how to deliver the baby,” Maddox said. “She was delivered in the passenger seat of the truck. She came out with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, but I got it off of her neck.”

While they waited for the ambulance to arrive, Maddox said she made sure the newborn never touched the seat of the truck or fell.

The baby was small because she was five weeks early. “She was born four pounds, 12 ounces, said Chelsea. “She’s just the perfect baby.”

Chase made it to the hospital just as the ambulance arrived.

The entire ordeal lasted only a few minutes but felt like a lifetime, Maddox said. “I was so overwhelmed. After the ambulance left, I just stood in the parking lot and cried.”

Chelsea said she is thankful to Maddox and the women at the church who came out to help her in her time of need. “I guess if you can’t have your baby at the hospital, a church is the second best place to have it.”

Both Chelsea and the baby are doing great.