Moms-To-Be Delay Births on June 6, 2006

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By VERENA DOBNIK
The Associated Press
Tuesday, June 6, 2006; 9:17 PM

NEW YORK -- Around the country, some superstitious mothers-to-be took steps Tuesday to make sure their babies were not born on the most bedeviling of dates, 6-6-6.

In New York, "people are canceling left and right because of what today represents," said Liza Washington, an administrative assistant at Children's Hospital of the New York-Presbyterian Medical Center. More than a dozen deliveries were postponed because of 666, which is said to be the "Number of the Beast" in the Book of Revelation.

Many of the expectant mothers had been scheduled to deliver babies by Caesarean section or after doctors artificially induced labor.

Julie Haley, 33, of Reading, Mass., went into labor Monday. As of Tuesday afternoon, she still had not given birth.

"We were going to try to get it out before midnight or I was going to keep my legs closed," she said. "I don't want her to have that stigma for the rest of her life. When she gets older, her friends would say that anything bad would be because of her birthdate."

A Chicago obstetrician, Dr. Scott Pierce, performed a C-section on Monday on a woman who didn't want her son to be teased about his birthday and called names like Damien from the movie "The Omen," about a sinister boy who turns out to be the Antichrist. A remake of the classic horror film was released on Tuesday.

Pierce, who works at two Chicago-area hospitals, said he and his colleagues canceled any deliveries scheduled for Tuesday. But he added, "I'll do nothing that is ethically not indicated."

Pierce said that in general, about 25 percent of all births involve C-sections whose timing can be controlled "give or take a day." And about 30 percent of births are natural, but labor is artificially induced, allowing the timing to be controlled as well.

In Wichita, Kan., a woman suddenly realized that her delivery date was June 6, and asked her doctor to delay the birth, said Dr. James Whiddon of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Wichita Clinic.

Another baby was born early because of 666.

Tabitha Unternahrer of Wayland, Iowa, was supposed to have a C-section on Tuesday but called her doctor and had the date moved up. Her daughter, Taryn Reney, was born May 31.

"About two weeks ago I realized the date and called and told them it had to be moved," said Unternahrer, whose decision was triggered by a dream about complications in childbirth.

Rebecca Zerkin scheduled her baby girl's birth by C-section for the sixth day of the sixth month of the sixth year _ on purpose.

"I did it because June 5 is my birthday and I wanted us to each have our own birthday," said the 35-year-old teacher, still on painkillers as she held her five-hour-old infant at Manhattan's St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center. As for the superstition, "I couldn't care less. The date is easy to remember."

Jill Haub, born on June 6, 1966, celebrated her 40th birthday on Tuesday. She is a mother of two boys and teaches sixth-graders in Yukon, Okla.

"When I tell people my birthday, the ones who are really brave give me the look and say, `That's scary!'" said Haub, a practicing Christian. "And I say, `Actually, I have an extra 6 _ born on 6-6-66 _ so that's four sixes. I'm good, not evil.'"

___

Associated Press writers Ling Liu in Boston and Natasha Metzler in Washington contributed to this story.


© 2006 The Associated Press

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