For Mom in Labor, Metro Pulls Through

Sara Procacci Wilson took the Red Line from Union Station and then a bus to Washington Hospital Center.
Sara Procacci Wilson took the Red Line from Union Station and then a bus to Washington Hospital Center. (By Dave Wilson)
Monday, November 12, 2007

Given our recollection of one mad midnight race to the hospital a dozen or so years ago, taking the Metro en route to the hospital delivery room sounds to us like a sane and sensible approach.

Sara Procacci Wilson is a senior manager at Metro. She's in charge of corporate strategy and communications. She loves her job. She loves riding Metro.

How much does she love it? So much that when she was having her baby, Sara and her husband took the train and then the bus to get to the hospital -- to be exact, the Red Line from Union Station to Brookland (three stops) and then the H4 bus to Washington Hospital Center. Total travel time: about 30 minutes.

The contractions were coming four to seven minutes apart when she left her house shortly after 11 a.m. They were painful, "but I wasn't yelping or anything," she said. She and her husband, Dave, walked a few blocks to their closest Metro stop, Union Station. She even bought some pastries for the hospital nurses.

They had to wait about 10 minutes for the train (trains were sharing the same track because of track maintenance) and another several minutes for the bus. Dave took pictures of Sara on the train and the bus. She doesn't remember hearing any comments from other passengers.

About 12 hours later, Christina Wilson, 7 pounds 2.5 ounces, was born.

Wilson doesn't think what she did was a big deal. Friends and colleagues at Metro didn't believe it when the e-mails started zooming around. They thought it was a joke.

"We live on Capital Hill," Wilson explained. "If we get a good parking space, we don't give it up. I hate driving."

Considering this was her first baby, and the first grandchild on both sides of the family, did anyone think about a cab? "To be honest, I feel safer on Metro. I think Metro is more reliable. Cab was not an option."

Even before she was pregnant, the couple was accustomed to taking Metro to do errands if they had a good parking space. ("Only our friends from New York appreciate it," she said.)

Taking the Metro had been among the options they discussed. They didn't do a dry run because Wilson rides the bus frequently and keeps stacks of bus routes handy. She took the X2 to see her obstetrician. She used to ride the H4 when she was a student at Catholic University.

And she embraced what her boss, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr., told employees when he came on board. "John Catoe wanted new life at Metro, and that's what I'm trying to do here. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it."

-- Lena Sun, staff writer

© 2007 The Washington Post Company