When his girlfriend began to give birth in his car, Anthony Brown stayed calm - and remembered how they had done this on the Discovery Channel.
TAMPA - Anthony Brown learned everything he needed to know from the Discovery Channel.
On Monday, Brown's pregnant girlfriend, 23-year-old Laura Kelley, started having contractions at their Town "N Country home. The couple climbed into Brown's Camaro, thinking they had plenty of time to get to Tampa General Hospital.
The baby - their first - was on a different timetable.
"Drive faster," Kelley told Brown.
They were on Kennedy Boulevard. It was 5:30 p.m. Traffic was heavy.
"I'm not going to make it!" Kelley said. "Pull over."
Brown, a 29-year-old moving company worker, thundered into the parking lot of a Citgo gas station and convenience store at Kennedy and Bungalow Park Avenue. He could see the baby's head.
And then the baby.
"I could see the, what do you call it, the water bag," Brown said later.
Brown remembered an emergency delivery he once saw on the Discovery Channel on TV. So he opened the sac and grabbed the baby by the armpits.
After cleaning out the mouth and nose, he slapped the infant on the bottom.
The baby didn't move. Brown tapped him again, and the baby began to stir.
But the drama wasn't over.
Brown ran inside the gas station and grabbed the attendant's cordless phone. He called 911.
Lori Hudson, a Tampa Fire Rescue dispatcher, calmly answered the call, which was recorded.
"What is your emergency?" Hudson asked.
Brown: "My girlfriend just had a baby in my car. I just delivered it."
Hudson: "You did?"
By this time, Brown was back in the parking lot, checking on mother and baby in the Camaro.
"She has an umbilical cord sticking out of her!" he cried into the phone.
Hudson instructed him to find a shoelace or another cord, and to tie it six inches from the baby. He whipped the lace out of his left sneaker. Scuffles and muffled sounds ensued on the 911 tape.
About that time, the gas station clerk could be heard in the background, asking for his phone back.
Brown replied in colorful language that he would return the phone "in a minute."
Then he got back on with Hudson.
"How's the baby?" she asked.
"He's fine," replied a breathless Brown.
Hudson told him to ask Kelley how she was feeling.
"She's feeling all right," he reported.
Paramedics arrived. Baby, mom and dad were taken to the hospital.
At a press conference at Tampa General on Wednesday, the family met Hudson and Trevor Hall, the first Fire Rescue paramedic on the scene. Everyone cooed over the baby, named "little Anthony," after his dad.
"Thank God," Hall said, "for the Discovery Channel."
- Tamara Lush can be reached at 813 226-3373 or at firstname.lastname@example.org