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Dad faints in the delivery room, then makes an epic run to get back to his wife in time

“I’m in this weird romantic comedy movie where I’m sprinting down the street with my head bandaged and pajamas."

When Luke Epplin pictured the birth of his first child, he didn't imagine sprinting through a gigantic hospital with a massive head injury. But to the absolute delight of everyone on X, Epplin turned his story into a highly entertaining thread that will one day completely embarrass his newborn daughter, Ava.

Epplin, a writer by trade, tells, “‘Fainting Husband’ is a trope that I thought only happened in movies and fiction, but it turns out, in fact, it’s based on real life."

“I feel like we all got pretty bruised up that first day,” says Jane Healy, Epplin’s wife, with a laugh. “Luke got staples, I’ve got stitches, Ava had a bruise on her cheek. We all looked like we were in a fight.”

Ava’s birth day, March 24, was a rough one for the entire family, but with some humor, determination and luck, they all lived to tell the (hilarious) tale.

Luke Epplin
Epplin shares his love of the Peanuts gang with baby Ava.Courtesy Luke Epplin

Fainting dad

When Healy went to a routine 38-week check-up,he couple's obstetrician to recommended that they go directly to a Manhattan hospital to induce their baby.

They arrived at the hospital on Friday, March 22, and neither Epplin nor Healy had much rest that weekend.

When Healy went into active labor around 4 a.m. on Sunday, Epplin had just fallen into a deep sleep. A member of the hospital staff woke Epplin, who struggled to shake off the cobwebs and follow the instructions on how to hold his wife's leg while she pushed.

"And then ... I just was out. I fell down," he recalls. "My head just crashed into one of those metal legs" on a table next to Healy's bed.

"There was quite a bit of blood," he says.

Epplin regained consciousness but was told to stay on the floor until a stretcher arrived to take him to the emergency room. He was told he would likely need a CT scan, "which would make me miss the birth of my daughter."

Epplin and Healy were both devastated by the news. Epplin started crying. The couple, who don't have family in the area, only had each other to lean on and couldn't believe they wouldn't be together for such a critical moment.

On the way to the ER, Epplin started feeling a bit foolish for fainting while his wife labored, and apologized to the hospital staff. He says all of them said, "You would not believe how often this happens."

The amazing race

After receiving six staples and a tetanus shot, Epplin was free to leave the ER without a time-consuming CT scan.

Healy texted him, "Ava's waiting." Epplin says knowing that he still had a chance to be there for the birth of his daughter made him feel like he was "just pumped full of adrenaline.”

The hospital, which encompasses an entire New York City block and then some, was "a maze of hallways and elevators," he says. A nurse guided him most of the way to the maternity ward but got called away before Epplin made the last turn.

Then he made the wrong turn.

He frantically begged another nurse to help him. Epplin was wearing the same clothes he slept in, had a patient tag on his wrist and did not have identification. "My head was wrapped like a World War I wounded soldier. It almost looked like I was wearing a pirate headband or something," Epplin says.

The nurse took one look at him and said, "Sir, we have to get you down to security."

The security guard asked to see Epplin's discharge papers, which he fortunately had clutched in his hand. The guard allowed Epplin to exit the building, which he did.

Outside, the hospital's parking valet pointed him in the direction of the maternity ward.

"I'm just in this weird romantic comedy movie where I'm sprinting down the street with my head bandaged and pajamas," Epplin says of his last push to get to his wife's side.

After additional security guards made some phone calls to confirm his identity, Epplin reentered the maternity ward ... this time with a second, misspelled I.D. card.

Luke Epplin
Note the head bandage, the misspelled name and the "wild-eyed" stare.Courtesy Luke Epplin

When he finally reached his wife's floor, he started to explain his predicament to the security guard, who cut him off and said, "Oh, we know about you."

Ava's arrival

Though it felt like an eternity to Epplin, his entire escapade only took about an hour. His wife still had "a couple of hours of pushing" before their daughter made her appearance, Healy recalls.

Healy has a good sense of humor about the whole situation. “As much as you try to plan, things just happen sometimes,” she says.

Luke Epplin
Courtesy Luke Epplin

A trained physician and vice-president of a pharmaceutical  company, Healy says she was not at all annoyed by Epplin's medical emergency, and in fact had a lot of "empathy" for him. She shares that the first time she did a lumbar puncture on a patient as a medical student, she fainted.

"So I do know what it feels like," she says. "I was just happy he was back. I didn't care how he got there."

Luke Epplin
In every photo on Ava's first day of life, Epplin wears this "pirate headband."Courtesy Luke Epplin

The couple, now at home enjoying the first chaotic days with a newborn, credits the hospital workers for trying so hard to reunite them while keeping everyone safe.

"It was entirely my fault," says Epplin. "Looking back, they had every right to be skeptical of me."