Dad Delivers Baby Girl on Jamestown-Scotland Ferry

By: Joe Fisher

A baby girl was born on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry early Wednesday morning, according to a spokeswoman with the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Parents Kayla and Jonathan Cline said they were on the way to Sentara Williamsburg Regional Medical Center from their home in Surry County when the baby couldn’t wait to enter the world.

“My water broke on the ferry,” Mrs. Cline said. “It was so much pressure, and I thought I was going to have a bowel movement. Five seconds later, I said, ‘Jonathan, this baby is coming! I’m pushing this baby out,’ and that’s exactly what happened.”

Cline said she started having contractions Tuesday, and by 1 a.m. Wednesday she knew it was time to get to the hospital.

“I could feel the baby’s head going down further and further, and my body was just telling me to push,” Cline said of the moment she knew she wouldn’t make it to the hospital.

Photos: Baby born on the James River

Her husband delivered the baby at 3:06 a.m. in his pickup truck on the ferry. Emmaleigh Jane Cline was born weighing six pounds, 12 ounces and was 19-inches long.

The couple brought two pillows with them on the trip, and Cline said the pillowcases were used to wrap the baby after the birth.

“When she came out, her umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck twice,” Cline said.

Mr. Cline was able to unwrap the umbilical cord and successfully finish the delivery while illuminating his dark truck with a flashlight. VDOT employees and other people on board helped out. Cline said the birth took about 10 minutes.

“I can’t believe I delivered my baby on a boat,” said Mr. Cline, who reports the baby is happy and healthy. “It’s pretty crazy. Never in a million years did I think I would be delivering my baby girl on the Williamsburg boat.”

After the birth, Mr. Cline said it took the ferry about seven more minutes to get to land. Emergency crews met the couple and escorted them to the hospital.

“The people on the boat were very aware that we were having a baby, and they were doing everything they could,” Cline said. “They did a really good job.”

A spokeswoman with VDOT said it’s believed this is the first birth for the ferry system. The couple said they are excited to return home by ferry to thank the employees who helped them with the delivery.