Baby born in Kern River Canyon

By Shannon Rapose
Kern Valley Sun

It was a beautiful day for a baby shower on Saturday, Feb. 3. Expecting parents Devin Marks and Sierra Monroe were surrounded by family and friends who came together to celebrate the coming birth of their daughter, Skyler, who they expected would be born in a few short weeks. Skyler had other plans.

Shortly after the baby shower ended, Monroe started to feel some pretty intense contractions but figured they weren’t quite ready to go to the hospital just yet, since her labor with her son had lasted 19 hours. However, it soon became obvious that they should make their way to the hospital, so they got in the car to make the trip down the canyon to a hospital in Bakersfield.

The couple had only driven a few miles down Highway 178 when Monroe’s water broke, and she realized they weren’t going to make it through the canyon, so she told Marks to pull over at the next turn out.

“It’s kind of hard to describe. I was freaking out definitely,” Monroe told 23ABC.

Photo by Ray Conner / Kern Valley Sun:
Kern River Valley resident Sierra Monroe cradles her newborn daughter, Skyler Leanne, after giving birth in the Kern River Canyon. Skyler was born on Saturay, February 3, after her baby shower. Needless to say, her early arrival was unexpected!

They pulled over near Black Gulch South and called 911. But before emergency personnel could arrive, baby Skyler Leanne, weighing only 5 pounds and 15 ounces, made her grand entrance into her daddy’s arms, who had been receiving encouragement and instructions from an emergency dispatcher over the phone.

“She did not want to wait at all,” said Monroe. “When she came out, I just kept saying, ‘I can’t believe I just had a baby on the side of the road.’”

Marks quickly took off his shirt and jacket to wrap baby Skyler so that she could be kept warm until helped arrived. He was also instructed by the 911 dispatcher to find something to tie off the umbilical cord, like a shoelace. Realizing they were all wearing boots at the time, Marks used a cell phone charger to tie off the baby’s umbilical cord instead.

“It was awesome!” said Marks, acknowledging that not many people these days get to have the experience of delivering their own child, much less on the side of a road. “If I could, I would do it again,” he said to 23ABC.

Little Skyler’s official time of birth is recorded as 7:55 p.m., birth place is Hwy 178 and doctor on scene, daddy.