“It was cool,” Lt. Adam Hansen said, recalling the night shift several days prior, when he and fellow firefighters delivered a baby in Milford.
When the call came in Thursday night at 11:43 p.m., several of the firefighters knew that this maternity call was going to be the real thing because they’d been to the same house the day before.
Not all of the five who took part in the delivery at a home on Meadow Street had been there the day before, but several had. The family had called Wednesday for transport to the hospital, but the mom-to-be was sent home from the hospital Thursday morning, still waiting for her fifth child to emerge into the world.
When firefighters and paramedics arrived at the house five minutes after the call came in Thursday, the husband met them at the door and said, “The baby’s coming.”
His wife was in the bathroom, and the firefighters and paramedics headed straight there. There was Lt. Adam Hansen and firefighters Ryan Antonino and Phil Ragusa from Engine 7, and Pat McGee and Joseph DeMartino from Engine 1.
The bathroom was small, so Hansen and McGee went in. Both are trained paramedics. The others stood outside the door, ready to assist.
“It was tight in there, but we made it work,” Hansen said.
The two men said it helped that they are relatively new fathers — Hansen has a 13-month-old and McGee a three-month old child — a fact that made them a little less nervous. Still, nerves do pique in this kind of situation, they explained. Despite regular training and exercises in child delivery, there is the fear that something will go wrong. Plus, none of them had delivered a child before.
“But what happens is you fall back on your training,” Hansen said.
And, “You hope for the perfect situation,” Antonino added.
At first, they weren’t sure if they were going to try to deliver the baby at the house or transport the mother to the hospital. “That was the hardest decision,” McGee said. “But with the slippery conditions outside, we prepared her for delivery right when we walked in the door.”
They prepped the mother for delivery, but the ambulance and stretcher were ready to roll outside if the baby didn’t come quickly.
But within minutes the baby’s head was emerging: Hansen handled the delivery, with McGee assisting. The other three were just outside the door, handing them the instruments they needed.
Within 10-minutes, the healthy baby boy was born. It was 12:07 a.m. Friday.
Everything went smoothly. The mother was “calm, cool and collected,” and that helped, Hansen said.
The couple’s four other children slept through the delivery, McGee added. And the father apparently wasn’t nervous: According to McGee, the father had delivered child number four.
After firefighters delivered child number five Friday morning, mother and child were taken by ambulance to Bridgeport Hospital, which is protocol, said Fire Department Spokesman Greg Carman.
The firefighters were in a very good mood when they returned to their stations.
“You go on so many calls, seldom can you walk away and leave such a positive thing behind,” Hansen said.
The only thing that might have made it better for Hansen might have been if the baby arrived a few minutes earlier. Thursday was Hansen’s birthday, and if the baby came before midnight, they’d have shared a birthday.
McGee said he couldn’t fall back to sleep once he got back to the station.
“It was a very gratifying call,” he said.