NEW YORK – After nearly 40 years as a nurse, Lucille Nassery had no problem identifying the sounds coming in the window from Fifth Avenue. Those were definitely the sounds of childbirth.
"There's a certain kind of sound that comes from women who are about to deliver. It's not just a typical scream. It's a whole-body scream," she said Friday, hours after she ran to peer down at an SUV parked hastily in front of Mount Sinai Medical Center. A distraught man circled the vehicle, looking for help, and a very pregnant woman lay across the front seat, howling.
Nassery, a nurse manager, grabbed a team of nurses, doctors and anesthesiologists and rushed outside.
The mother, Elizabeth Brew of Scarsdale, was 33-weeks pregnant. While she remained in the SUV — her legs extended toward busy Fifth Avenue and Central Park — the hospital staff brought equipment into the middle of the street. Nassery and other staffers used their bodies to block off two lanes of traffic.
With the baby girl's head already crowning, the group wasn't going anywhere. The 4-pound, 13-ounce girl was delivered right out on the avenue. Passengers in taxis stuck their heads out of windows to cheer and exclaim over the baby. Drivers stopped to yell out: "Is the mother OK?"
The mother, an old hand at this with two kids already at home, interrupted the merriment to tell the doctors it wasn't over yet.
A few minutes later, the second of the pair of twins, a 5-pound, 5-ounce boy, was delivered. Both children were healthy, but they were expected to remain hospitalized in neonatal intensive care for several weeks because they were premature. Brew, 39, was admitted to recover in a hospital room.
After all the chaos settled down, Nassery said, she gave the babies' father some cleaning supplies — just to tidy up the SUV before finishing his parking job.