SOUTH FORSYTH — Andrew Ross walked into the entrance of North Fulton Hospital with blood on his sweatshirt.
As soon as he mentioned something about Kroger and a baby, everyone knew who he was, leading him to the room where his wife and newborn daughter rested.
Ross had witnessed the birth of his third child shortly before they arrived at the hospital Jan. 15 and not long after visiting the Kroger on Peachtree Parkway/McGinnis Ferry Road.
The couple had stopped at the south Forsyth grocery store so Ross’ wife, Deborah, could use the restroom. They were actually on the way to the Roswell hospital to deliver the child.
When they walked in the doors to Kroger and were told the restrooms were in the back of the store, Ross said, “she looked at me and said, ‘I don’t think I can make it back there.’”
“In that very second — we had been there about 20-30 seconds — I looked down and my daughter is staring me in the face,” Ross said. “She came out within another few seconds, and about 90 seconds later she was born.”
Cora Wien — the German spelling of Vienna, the Austrian capital and home to her parents in their early years of marriage — Ross came into the world weighing 7 pounds, 11 ounces and measuring 20 inches, not much lighter than a bag of ice.
Needless to say, it was an “unplanned process” to have the girl birthed next to the shopping carts.
Ross had left work — at Atlanta Neighborhood Charter School in southeast Atlanta — about 4 p.m. with Deborah’s contractions beginning to worsen, but “nothing too alarming.”
“I got home at 5:20 p.m., and little did I know in an hour I’d be holding my daughter,” said Ross, who has been married to Deborah for nearly 10 years, the last seven of which have been in Georgia.
Not the greatest time of the day to drive out of and then back into Atlanta on a time crunch. In the rain.
They aimed for North Fulton because it is one of two hospitals in the metro area that perform water births, Ross said. The other was farther south.
Ella, their first child, who is nearly 5, was born quickly too, so a water birth was suggested for their second. Their son, 2-year-old Findlay, was born in a birthing tub “to slow things down. In a good way.”
By the time they reached McGinnis Ferry Road and Buford Highway, Deborah’s water broke. They first looked to a nearby fast-food eatery, but proceeded west to Kroger after noticing how busy the restaurant appeared.
“She looked at me and said, ‘You have to pull over. I got to get out of this car,’” Ross said.
A patron helped hold her, and employees retrieved blankets and a wheelchair. By the time EMS personnel arrived five to seven minutes after the initial call, mom was holding a bundle of blankets and baby.
Ross cut the umbilical cord before following the ambulance to the hospital. He said both his wife and daughter remained in healthy condition.
“At the hospital there were not a lot of complications, except for being a little cold.” Ross said.
“It was very unplanned, but obviously it ended up being a blessing because people were able to help. Better than being born in the car.”