A 12-year-old girl had the lesson of a lifetime this week when she got to not only attend the birth of her baby brother but also deliver him.
And now, says Jacee Dellapena, she’s ready to catch thousands more babies, and she has her sights set on a career doing just that.
Just 18 months ago, Jacee, of Jackson, Miss., had asked her mom and stepfather, Dede and Zack Carraway, if she could be in the delivery room for the birth of their son Zadyn.
At the time, the couple worried that she was still a bit too young for the experience.
Since then, though, Jacee has been “learning about animals mating and the human body, and she’s starting to be a teenager now,” Dede tells Yahoo Beauty.
And so when it came to the birth of her second son, she recalls Jacee saying, “I want to be in that delivery room, Mama!” But, Dede admits, “we thought she would just visit and get a glance.”
So how did Jacee wind up catching her baby brother?
Dede explains that when she started pushing and her obstetrician, Dr. Walter Wolfe, entered the delivery room, she and Zack assumed that it was time for Jacee to make her exit.
But, Dede says, “she started crying and said, ‘No, I want to see!’” adding that that was when Wolfe told the girl, “OK, just suit up and deliver the baby.”
Dede says that she remembers shouting, “No!” the second she heard her doctor say that, but he assured her that she had an easy delivery ahead of her and that he would be at Jacee’s side, coaching her along at each step in the process.
“And so she suited up and did it,” Dede says proudly.
Jacee tells Yahoo Beauty that she simply wanted to be present at the birth because she thought “it would be a really great experience for me. I thought it would be interesting because I had learned about [birth] and read about it, but I thought it would be so cool to see my baby brother born.”
Still, when she heard the doctor tell her to suit up, she says, her initial reaction was, “What? He is crazy! He is just playing with me!” But the “serious look on his face” told her that he was absolutely serious — and so, as a result, she was too.
“I got all geared up, and delivering my baby brother was pretty cool,” Jacee says. “And not many kids get to do this. I had a lot of emotions running through my head.”
Dede says that watching her first-born child assist with the birth of her newborn left her “seized with emotion. I was just crying. It was something I will never forget, and it will be something that [Jacee] and her stepdad and I will always share. It was just an overwhelming feeling.”
The family shared a photo on Facebook of Jacee at the moment her brother was born, and it clearly shows the girl’s overwhelming awe and joy .
Family friend Nikki Smith shared even more images of the experience on Facebook, and they have subsequently gone viral, being shared more than 175,000 times.
And with more than 17,000 comments on the post, commenters are mainly sharing extreme admiration for this remarkable girl.
“My god she’s absolutely amazing,” wrote one commenter. “All the emotions all over her face. Absolutely beautiful moment. If I’m lucky enough to have another baby when my girls are this age I would love to include them in the delivery. Such a brave girl you’ve got there.”
Another person wrote that seeing the photos of Jacee delivering her brother “brought tears to my eyes,” while yet one more shared, “I see [a] future doctor or midwife!”
While Jacee might be one of the rare 12-year-olds to have caught a newborn baby, siblings in delivery rooms and at home births are becoming much more commonplace. (Still, hospitals may have different policies regarding who can attend births.)
Jacee says that what surprised her the most about the birth was “how they got the baby to come out. I thought it just came out and popped out, but you really have to do a lot of work and push down, and it’s really weird and complicated.”
She also notes that her experience has led her to believe that childbirth isn’t “scary” but “interesting.” And not only that but, she adds, “I want to be an ob-gyn. I’m going to work hard and study and find my way there.”