Early on Tuesday, Sept. 3, 6th grade reading teaching Lindsay Agbalokwu instant messaged her good friend and 7th grade reading teacher colleague Marissa Kast that she was feeling a little weird. But her due date was still three weeks away and she’d just felt one small pain. She thought it might be a sign the baby would arrive in the coming week.
Being a teacher with students waiting, she went to school. After attending to her homeroom advisory, her sixth grade class went downstairs for their morning meeting, and she presented the weekly award nomination. That part of her day accomplished, Agbalokwu went back upstairs and started her first class. “That’s when I felt like a ton of pressure…something’s not quite right.” Thoughts of what to do flashed through her mind. “I need to find Marisa. I need to find Natalie (Lewis, the School Director). Should I call my mom to come pick me up? That’ll take too long. Marisa can take me to the hospital.”
Kast got word Agbalokwu needed her and found her in the teachers’ workroom. She could see she was in pain. They tried calling the doctor’s office but it wasn’t open yet. Marisa then dashed back to her classroom and told the vice principal she was leaving, grabbed her keys, and drove her car around from one side of the building to the other where Agbalokwu was waiting.
“By the time I got my car from that side of the building to this side, she was unable to stand,” says Marissa. “I thought, ‘Oh my God. I just left you three minutes ago. What happened?’”
Agbalokwu reflects on that moment, “I was like, it’s happening. I was feeling a combination of anxious and unbelievable. I went back and forth from thinking, ‘Is this going to be a complete false alarm and super embarrassing? The fire department’s here and nothing’s happening.’ Or, “It’s unbelievable, she’s really coming.”
School Director Lewis and Dean Chris Earls were with Agbalokwu and had called 911. The dispatcher had said, “You need to lie her down.”
Kast remembers thinking, “Where do we take her? We have an elementary school downstairs and we have silent hallways. She’s clearly in a lot of pain [and not silent]. We can’t take her inside because there are 8-year-olds learning there. Where do we put her? On the ground? I was like, ‘I have a sleeping bag in my car.’ We go on a staff retreat in the mountains every before school starts—and I hadn’t taken my sleeping bag out of my car yet.”
“We laid her down on the sleeping bag and the 911 operator said, ‘I’m going to walk you through how to deliver this baby.’ I said, ‘Hold on, Lindsay, hold on.’ But it was very clear that was not an option. Luckily we started hearing sirens at that point,” says Kast
Agbalokwu says of that moment, “Once I saw them (the firemen) I calmed down. Natalie and Chris and Marissa were there, being support people and I was like, breathe, it’s ok. Once I heard those voices it was like, it’s ok, my body’s going to do this. It was fast and I saw the baby—and then I didn’t care how it happened. I had the baby. She’s beautiful.”