FCHS administrator delivers coworker’s baby on roadside

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Brandi Johnson rests in the hospital during a visit from Lydia Powell, her fellow assistant principal at Fayette County High School. Last Wednesday, Powell delivered Johnson’s baby on the side of the road when they determined they would not be able to make it to Johnson’s doctor’s office.

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Left, Johnson smiles with the EMTs as they check on mother and baby. Right, Powell holds Skye Blessing Johnson, after delivering in the same car. (Special Photos)

A day that was supposed to start with a meeting at school turned into a much bigger team building exercise for two Fayette County High School assistant principals on Wednesday, July 20.
Brandi Johnson woke up feeling the early signs of labor, and thought it was time to visit her doctor in midtown. She called on Lydia Powell to drive her, but they did not make it out of the county. Instead, Lydia delivered Brandi’s baby on the side of the road.
It all happened so fast. Brandi did not start having painful contractions until 7:15 a.m. Her newborn baby would be in her arms by 8:35. That morning, both were due to head to the school for a meeting, but Brandi wasn’t feeling well, so she called on Lydia to take her to her doctor at Emory University Hospital. The pair didn’t make it nearly to her appointment.
“Some people will do just about anything to get out of one of my administrative meetings,” joked Fayette County High School’s principal, Dr. Dan Lane. “I have always said jokingly that assistant principals are closet super-heroes because they can do just about anything based on the multitude of crazy situations that they have to handle on a daily basis. I guess this proves that point!”
It wasn’t long before Lydia realized there was no way they could make it to midtown.
“Brandi said she was in the worst pain she’d ever felt in her life, so I thought she was in active labor,” said Lydia.
A mother of three herself, Lydia’s own birthing experiences kicked in. She pulled over to the side of the road and found some workout clothes in her trunk in lieu of towels.
“I started to pray. I asked God to let me focus and tell me what to do,” remembered Lydia. “I asked God to keep mom and baby safe.”
Three cars would end up pulling over to help out. One had a box of paper towels, one called 911, and another held Brandi’s hand to help keep her calm while Lydia ended up gently pulling the baby out.
“It was just a wonderful experience. It was reassuring for her and for me (to have so many helping),” said Brandi. “It happened so fast that people just jumped into action.”
“I am extremely proud to have staff members who rely on each other so fully and who will do anything for each other,” said Lane. “That overarching sense of family and ‘whatever it takes’ attitude is what makes Fayette County High School a very special place to work.”
The Johnsons did not know until their daughter was born that they would be having a girl. They wanted to be surprised. Her husband certainly was, as he found out over the phone. He had just worked the night shift and was waiting at Emory for their appointment.
Their daughter, Skye Blessing Johnson, got a clean bill of health, and both Skye and her mother are doing well.

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About

Christopher Dunn has been the sports editor for Fayette Newspapers since 2011, in addition to running Fayette Game Day magazine. He is a graduate of Fayette County schools, as well as a graduate of Georgia State University with a degree in journalism. Follow him on twitter @fayettesports.


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