WATERBURY — Necessity is the mother of invention, and thanks to her quick-thinking husband, Lauri Wood is the mother of a healthy seven-pound, two-ounce baby boy.
Wood, 42, went into labor with her fifth child Friday as snow pummeled her Naugatuck home.
“We were waiting for the plows for hours and hours, but they never showed up,” said James Wood, her husband of 24 years.
Lauri labored through the night and all day Saturday as three-foot drifts piled up against her house.
Sunday morning, James decided they couldn’t wait any longer.
“I didn’t want to risk another night at home,” he said.
Lauri couldn’t walk. Besides suffering contractions, the 5-foot-tall woman would have been buried in three feet of snow.
A friend of theirs, Kyle Wade, got a luggage carrier, the kind that sits on the roof of a car, and broke the lid off it. They tied a rope to one end and Lauri climbed inside.
With the help of three other men, James pulled his pregnant wife about 1,000 feet uphill from their home at 39 Tutor Lane to the corner of Carriage Drive and Harvest Lane.
“It felt like two years of pulling,” James said, although it only took about 40 minutes. “I have a new respect for huskies.”
Lauri said she was uncomfortable as she was bumped around in the makeshift sled, her neighbors’ knees pushed into her back to keep her from sliding out. Several friends went ahead to try to pack down the snow, but the four men sank in past their knees.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it myself, but I wouldn’t have let go of the rope either,” James said.
On Carriage Drive, a group of neighbors had used a combination of snow blowers and pickup truck plows to clear the street. Lauri climbed into a pickup truck and was driven to a friend, Ann Tooker, a labor and delivery nurse who promised she’d deliver the baby at home, if necessary.
Lauri said she was relieved when Tooker brought her safely to Waterbury Hospital around noon on Sunday.
An hour later, the baby’s heart rate started dropping rapidly. His umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck. Lauri was rushed into an emergency C-section and James Anthony Wood Jr. was born at 2:02 p.m.
“Things were going really good and they went bad in seconds,” James said Monday from his wife’s hospital bedside. “God forbid, if we were home, we would’ve lost the baby. Luckily, we were here and the baby actually lived.”
Monday afternoon, the couple was surrounded by three of their four daughters (the youngest, Jayden, 5, wasn’t allowed in the hospital room), as a doctor examined the infant Jimmy and went over the changes in baby care since their oldest was born 24 years ago.
“We would’ve taken whatever, but it was a perk that it was a boy,” Lauri said.
Despite the grand entrance, Lauri said James Jr. hasn’t cried very much.
“He’s a very mellow baby. He needs to be, with the house full of crazies we have,” she said.
James, who owns a construction company, said Jimmy Jr.’s room is currently under construction.
“He’s perfect. Couldn’t be any better,” James said, as the family discussed where dad should get Junior’s name tattooed. No roses for the boy, said James, who has his four daughters’ names tattooed around roses on his arms. Maybe a tool belt.