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Baby born in a church

Pastor's wife goes into labor during Sunday's service, delivers in bathroom. Church Alive rents out the Talbert Room at Huntington Beach Central Library.

May 18, 2011|By Michael Miller, michael.miller@latimes.com
  • Jerrod Wagner, left, watches as his wife, Jennifer, and daughter Geneva talk about their 1-day-old son, Titus, at the Fountain Valley Regional Hospital on Monday. Titus came nine days early and was born in the bathroom of the Huntington Beach Central Library, where their church meets.
Jerrod Wagner, left, watches as his wife, Jennifer, and… (SCOTT SMELTZER,…)

Titus Sebastian Wagner will likely have a Christian upbringing. That's appropriate, considering that he was born in the church.

The fourth child and first son of Pastor Jerrod and Jennifer Wagner, Titus was born after Sunday's service in a restroom stall at the Huntington Beach Central Library, where Church Alive rents the Talbert Room once a week.

His birth, nine days early, came as a surprise to his mother, who realized she was in labor during the service but was sure she had time to wait until afterward to go to the hospital.

Instead, she found herself on the bathroom floor, leaning against the armrest in a handicapped stall as two friends helped her deliver the baby.

"I think I only pushed four times," Jennifer said. "It was easy."

Jennifer said she had already pre-registered at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange and had a bag of basic needs with her in case she needed to rush to the hospital Sunday. Midway through the service, Jennifer realized she was in labor. She tried walking in the nearby park to relieve her stress, but realized when she returned to the library that the baby was on its way.

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Almost instantly after Titus came out, the paramedics arrived and loaded Jennifer on the gurney. The reservation at St. Joseph turned out to be for naught, as the ambulance took her to nearby Fountain Valley Regional Hospital.

Jerrod said he was getting the car ready to drive to the hospital when a church member ran outside and told him to forget about it. By the time he ran into the bathroom, his son had already been born.

"People were saying it could have been his first baptism, because the toilet was open," he said. "But fortunately, there was no baptism."

And that's far from the only witticism the Wagners have heard about their son's unusual birth. A nurse, they said, quipped that it "wasn't just a walk in the park." A friend played off the library angle by calling the birth "one for the books."

Jennifer's personal favorite, via another text: "They said they've heard of people being born again in church, but never born in church."

At next Sunday's service, Jerrod said, he plans to tell the story of Titus' birth along with a top 10 list of the best jokes about it so far.

Monday evening, the Wagners headed home with the latest addition to their brood. Titus joins older sisters Addison, 8, Hannah, 6, and Geneva, 4.

The Wagners, she said, hoped their fourth child would be a boy, although they would have felt blessed either way.

"His big sisters are very excited to have a little brother," Jennifer said.

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