Wednesday, January 17, 2001

Birth was surprising, traumatic and scared the dog

        FORT MITCHELL — Caroline Garvey turns 1 today, which amazes her parents.

        First they thought they couldn't conceive. Then they survived the most extraordinary delivery.

[photo] The Garvey family, John, Michele and 1-year-old Caroline.
(Patrick Reddy photo)
| ZOOM |
        “For a month or two after, I felt like I needed a bourbon every time I told the story,” says John Garvey III.

        The Garveys hope their stores inspires others to believe in miracles.

        For 10 years, Michele Garvey battled a tumor on her pituitary gland. It wasn't malignant but caused severe headaches and interfered with her menstrual cycle. Doctors said she might never get pregnant.

        She and Mr. Garvey married in 1997. Her health improved, and she decided to visit a fertility doctor. He pronounced her already pregnant.

        The Garveys were astounded.

        On her due date, she went to University Hospital with contractions. Six hours later, the staff sent her home.

        Plagued by terrible headaches, Mrs. Garvey has a high tolerance for pain. Her husband thinks this may have confused the nurses.

        Once back home, she began making sounds he had never heard before. The family dog was frantic. As he helped his wife undress, Mr. Garvey noticed something new. He said a quick “Hail Mary” and ran to the phone.

        “This sac thing is coming out of her,” he told someone at the hospital. “What do we do?”

        “Bring her in,” was the reply.

        Mrs. Garvey clearly remembers the next part. She was moaning on the bed as her husband pawed through her closet. It was snowing outside. He held up a denim miniskirt.

        “This?” he asked.

        “NO!!” she shouted, emphatically.

        Finally getting into proper attire, she made it to the kitchen.

        “Honey, you have to look,” she said. “I think that's the head.”

        John Garvey III is a lawyer. In conversation, he uses words such as “hindsight” and “clarification.”

        Before this moment, he had planned to coach his wife through labor while steering clear of the icky parts.

        Now he was helping her onto the kitchen floor and dialing 911. The handset was broken, so he had to yell into the speakerphone. Haley, the dog, kept jumping over Mrs. Garvey as she contracted.

        “From that point on, I think things happened faster than I could really think,” Mr. Garvey recalls.

        The baby squirted into his hands. Instinct took over.

        “The kid is out!” he yelled into the phone. Then he put his mouth to its face and gently sucked in, as he had seen on videos.

        Just as Caroline was entering the world, paramedics began arriving. Seven of them ultimately showed up. They handled cleanup.

        “Dad (Mr. Garvey) was ecstatic,” recalls Julia Schneider, an emergency medical technician in Fort Mitchell. “He was going around shaking everybody's hand, saying, "Thank you, thank you.' ”

        One year later, Mr. Garvey is still saying those words.

        Caroline is a miracle, her parents say. She's healthy. They're healthy.

        The dog is recovering.

       Karen Samples is Kentucky columnist for the Enquirer. She can be reached at 859-578-5584 or


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