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SMU STEMPREP student helps deliver niece at highway rest stop

The following is from the Sept. 30, 2014, edition of The (Wilmington) News Journal. Kennedy Smith has spent the last two summers at SMU as one of 100 seventh and eighth grade students participating in the STEMPREP program.

October 7, 2014

By Terri Sanginiti
The News Journal

WILMINGTON, Del. — Little Karter Zoe Marcus couldn’t wait to get to the hospital.

The baby girl made her dramatic entrance to the world in the front seat of her grandmother’s Lexus about 7:30 a.m. Sunday as her grandmother, Kellie Ann Smith, was barreling up I-95 near Newark toward Christiana Hospital with mother-to-be Kelsey Marcus.

The baby, weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce, was far from impatient. She was actually due on Sept. 20, but wasn’t ready to come out, Smith said.

“We were scheduled to bring her into the hospital at 9 p.m. to be induced,” she said.

But Marcus, 21, woke up early Sunday in a lot of pain. Then her water broke.

“We were able to get her in the car and got her down 896 when Kelsey said she felt the baby’s head coming out,” Smith said. “We weren’t sure if it was the baby, or if she was just scared.”

As Smith entered northbound I-95 from Del. 896, Kelsey told her that she was trying not to push, “‘but I have to,'” Smith said.

Marcus was in the frontseat and her younger sister Kennedy was in the backseat coaching Marcus and calming Smith as she drove.

“Everyone was going crazy, so someone had to stay calm and keep everything together,” Kennedy said. “Ten minutes after my sister’s water broke, the baby came.”

Kellie Smith said Kennedy called 911 and they pulled over into the Delaware Welcome Center on I-95. By that time, the baby was fully delivered.

“Once the head came out, Kelsey pulled the rest of the baby out,” Smith said.

Dispatchers at the 911 center walked Kennedy through the next process of tying off the baby’s umbilical cord and wiping the baby’s mouth.

Fortunately, Kelsey had brought her hospital bag and her sister grabbed the necessary items.

Kennedy used her own shoelace and did as she was told by dispatchers to go 6 inches down and tie it off, Smith said. In the event she wasn’t wearing shoes with laces, Kennedy said she was prepared to use the string from her hooded sweatshirt.

After the hectic childbirth, the two sisters talked to the new arrival and cuddled her.

County paramedics then arrived, assessed the infant and mother, and took them to Christiana Hospital, agency spokesman Sgt. Michael McColley said.

“We don’t know what we would have done if Kennedy wasn’t in the car keeping us calm,” Smith said. “It was scary.”

Kennedy Smith, 14, who attends Appoquinimink High School, was nominated for homecoming queen the night before, then slept on the floor in Marcus’s room after her sister said she wasn’t feeling well.

“It’s all just settling in,” Smith said of her younger daughter. “She’s a little exhausted … she did a lot of work.”

Kennedy, an honor student, has plans to enter the medical field. This summer, she studied at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is scheduled to study next summer at the University of Pennsylvania.

“I’m very protective of my niece,” Kennedy said. “The baby has the cutest chubby cheeks and a full head of hair.” READ MORE

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