A California woman was honored Wednesday for her heroic delivery of a child from its dying mother’s womb on a rural Texas highway last year.
Officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety traveled to the Bay Area to honor Iria Wolnick for her quick actions after her family – on the way to a funeral -- came upon an accident scene on rural Highway 77 in Kenedy County, Texas.
In the crash, an 18-year-old male, a 19-year-old female and a 2-year-old had been ejected from their vehicle.
“She (the 19-year-old female) kept asking – ‘Ma’am how’s my baby? How’s my baby?” Wolnick said recalling the day. “I thought she was asking about the toddler, but then I looked down and saw her stomach.”
There was large laceration on the woman’s stomach and an unborn child’s head and arm were sticking out.
Wolnick – who has four children of her own -- knew she had to deliver the child or it would die.
“Four kids later, you sort of have an idea what needs to happen,” she said. “Making sure the umbilical cord is tied, preventing blood from coming out…keeping the baby warm…All those sort of things.”
After delivering the miracle baby, Wolnick, who lives in San Jose, was able to obtain a heartbeat and heard the baby cry just prior to EMS arriving.
“The adrenaline just kicks in and you just spring into action or panic,” she said. “I sprung into action.”
What also has lingered in Wolnick’s mind is the fact that her family was on the way to her mother’s funeral when they came upon the accident scene.
“It has changed my life for good,” she said of the delivery. “The baby will be in my thoughts forever…You get a new perspective on life.”
While the 6-pound, 11-ounce baby girl survived, the mother died a short time later in the hospital from complications.
“I’ve gotten a couple texts from the father,” she said. “But I’ve wanted to give him time to mourn.”