Baby can’t wait for hospital
Firefighters help deliver child in back of ambulance
SCHENECTADY A baby girl arrived five minutes too early Friday, in an ambulance hurrying down city streets.
Firefighters got a call for a woman in labor at 10:45 a.m. Friday and got her into an ambulance at 11 a.m.
They pulled up at Bellevue nine minutes later.
But the baby was born at 11:04.
It was the third ambulance delivery for fire Lt. Jeremy Matson, who took control when he realized the woman was about to give birth.
She was so far along that she wanted to simply stay in her upstairs apartment to deliver.
“There was a debate as to whether she was going to deliver in the house or not,” Matson said.
But he wanted her in a sterile environment, “on a nice clean stretcher.”
And in case anything went wrong, he wanted to be in an ambulance, surrounded by the equipment he would need.
But he didn’t betray to the mother any concern about possible complications — or the chance of infection. He stayed calm.
“If we’re hysterical, mom’s going to be hysterical,” he said.
Instead, he acted as though it was commonplace for a baby to be born in an ambulance.
“If you think about it, babies are born every day,” he said.
So when she said she had the urge to push, he told her to go ahead.
Moments later, the baby arrived.
“It’s nice to bring one into the world,” he said. “It was great.”
The new mother had been up-to-date on all her checkups and hadn’t intended to give birth in quite so dramatic a fashion, he added.
Her labor was simply so fast that by the time she realized her contractions were speeding up, it was too late.
“Sometimes they just say, ‘now,’ ” he said. “Labor went fast. It was time.”
Of course, many things could have gone wrong, and the ambulance could have rerouted to an operating room at a moment’s notice, he said.
If the baby had presented breech, for example, he would have called for help.
But nothing went wrong.
“Everything went well. This was straight-forward,” he said.
It was the first delivery for Matson’s partner, firefighter Joseph Bonitatibus. There was no word on whether it was the first delivery for the mother, but she and her daughter are reportedly doing fine.