Raleigh pastor's wife gives birth to third child on UNC Rex elevator

Andrea Blanford Image
Thursday, July 25, 2019
Raleigh mom gives birth in Rex hospital elevator
Raleigh mom gives birth in Rex hospital elevator.

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Life moves fast in the Smith household -- and baby Tessa had no intention of slowing it down.

"We had people say, 'Why didn't you name her Ella Vator? Since you had her on the elevator,'" Becca Smith joked.

Philip Smith is an associate pastor at The Summit Church's North Raleigh Campus.

His wife, Becca, was pregnant with their third child, and first daughter, on Memorial Day weekend.

She'd started feeling contractions that Sunday night, but with no change after several hours spent at the UNC Rex Women's Center in Raleigh, the couple headed home to Wake Forest.

Early the next morning on their car ride back to the hospital, things escalated quickly.

"My water breaks," Becca said. "One contraction later, I start having the urge to push."

With Philip behind the wheel and still a good half hour away, mom started pushing.

"I thought about stopping at the fire station, you know, just instinct," Philip said. "But I was just thinking, we gotta get to the hospital no matter what."

With it being a holiday and little traffic on typically busy Capital Blvd., Philip somehow made every green light and reached Rex in record time.

"I'm talking to the security guard while I'm hitting the elevator button," Philip said.

As mom and dad were on their way up to the labor and delivery floor, baby Tessa's head was already out.

"The door opens to the elevator and I let out a primal scream," Becca said. "Phil hops out and is yelling, 'Help! We need help! We're having a baby!'"

Lauren Hess, UNC Rex Labor and Delivery nurse, who also happens to be a member of The Summit Church where Philip pastors, was at the nurse's station and heard the scream.

She sprinted toward the elevator with a team of nurses behind her.

"I didn't recognize them at the time and I could see that the baby was coming so I said 'hey, you need to sit down we're having this baby right here,'" Hess said.

About a minute and two pushes later, right there on the hospital floor, Tessa Grace arrived, already keeping up with her new family of five.

"We're really grateful for God's grace," Becca said. "I mean, we called her Tessa Grace because of just God's grace, one, in our own lives and then just in our journey to the hospital."

"The relief I felt when I knew she was ok and she was ok," Philip said pointing to his wife and new daughter. "That's my favorite moment."