"I saw her three or four times, and I liked her a lot," Halliday Johnson said. "She wasn’t supposed to be on call since she was having a baby herself."
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
Hess was being induced at Frankfort Regional Medical Center when she overheard Halliday Johnson preparing to deliver, according to a Facebook post by Dr. Hala Sabry, who founded the nonprofit Physician Moms Group.
According to the post, Halliday Johnson’s baby was in distress and needed immediate attention. The on-call physician was on the way, but Hess heard about what was happening and snapped to action. She put boots on over her flipflops and another hospital gown to cover her back, and got to work, according to NBC News affiliate WLEX-18.
"I said you know, I'm not on call, I'm here in a gown, but I think we ought to have the baby," Hess said in an interview with NBC News Friday.
Halliday Johnson said she didn’t know Hess was in labor, and said the doctor was completely professional throughout the delivery.
"She was definitely in doctor mode," Halliday Johnson said. “My husband noticed something was going on because she had on a hospital gown, but I didn't notice that because I was on the delivery table. I was in my own world there."
Hess said she figured she’d be working late into her pregnancy, but didn't predict she’d be working the day she gave birth. Her contractions began a few minutes after she delivered Halliday Johnson's youngest, according to the NBC News affiliate.
"I had actually taken a call the day before, so I thought really that I was working up to the last minute. But this was literally 'til the last second," Hess told WLEX-18.
The two women haven’t spoke since they became new mothers, but Halliday Johnson said she's grateful Hess stepped in.
"She's definitely earned her time off," Halliday Johnson said. "I appreciate what she did for my family, and it speaks a lot to who she is as a woman and a mother as well as a doctor. It makes you feel better, bringing a baby girl into the world, knowing there are women like her willing to step up like that."
Hess said it was all in a day’s work. "Delivering other peoples' babies is something I do every day," Hess said. "And I'm more comfortable with delivering someone else's baby than my own, for sure."
Kalhan Rosenblatt is a reporter for NBC News, based in New York.