Baby on the Way! Bridgewater Mom Delivers in the Backseat

When she felt the first contractions at 11:15 p.m. New Year’s Eve, Renai Townsend thought she had time to get to Boston to deliver her second child.

A couple holding their newborn baby
​Renai and Justin Townsend with their New Year's baby, who was in a rush to ring in 2024. Renai delivered her second child in the backseat of their truck on the way to South Shore Hospital. ​

“I thought they were Braxton Hicks contractions, which I had before,” she said. Renai called her parents to come over to watch her 2-year-old son, Will, and she and her husband, Justin, got ready to go.

By the time her parents arrived, the contractions were coming more quickly and Renai’s father offered to drive them to the hospital. Ten minutes into the ride, it was clear there wasn’t enough time to get to Boston. Justin called 9-1-1 and their destination became South Shore Hospital. 

“My dad was determined to make it to the hospital,” she said. “Justin wanted him to pull over.”

As they continued up Route 18, with Abington Fire Department ambulances following their truck, Renai said her water broke, she felt some pressure, and about 30 seconds later, delivered her own baby. 

Instinct took over during the delivery, Renai said.

“It was funny, there wasn’t a whole lot of thinking,” she said. “It was more reacting and riding the wave of contractions.”

It was also the polar opposite of her experience delivering their first child, Renai said. 

“Will was 10 days late, so I was induced and pushing for five hours,” she said. “This happened a lot quicker.”

With the baby delivered, Renai said her father pulled into the Lowe’s parking lot where they were met by Abington Fire Department EMTs – three of whom she recognized.  

Two months ago, Renai was on her way to work in Rockland where she is a teacher, when she was rear-ended in Abington. Those three same EMTs responded to the accident, taking her to South Shore Hospital to be checked out in the Obstetric Emergency Department.

This time the family was transported together. Renai had some time to bond with the baby on board the ambulance and Justin got to cut the cord before they arrived at South Shore Hospital, where they have received excellent care, she said.

“Everyone has been so nice and supportive,” she said. “From the doctors, who were really patient with us when we arrived basically in a state of shock, to the nurses, who are helping give us the experience we wanted, but missed in all the rush.”