WALLINGFORD — In a welcome break from the difficult calls first responders are used to, firefighters successfully delivered a healthy baby boy at a local family’s home earlier this week.
“It was just something amazing that you couldn't ever replicate, a miracle you know,” said Randy Gonzalez II. His son, Randy Gonzalez III, was born at 12:10 p.m. — healthy and weighing 8 pounds and 6 ounces — with help from six Wallingford firefighters and EMTs.
Gonzalez had spent the morning at the hospital with his wife, Kimberlee Gonzalez, after she began to experience contractions.
After several hours, however, she was discharged and scheduled to have labor induced on Tuesday. But shortly after they got home, her water broke and they rushed to the bathtub and called 911.
“We couldn’t leave, we had to have the baby there. It was crowning,” Randy Gonzalez II said.
Though they had planned to give birth in the hospital, he said they were hoping to have a natural birth without an epidural or induction and it felt fitting to give birth in the home they had bought around a year and a half ago.
“It just so happened to work out the way we wanted to, we just didn’t expect to have the (birth) at home,” he said.
The 911 dispatcher walked the couple through preparing to give birth until EMTs and firefighters — who are trained as paramedics — arrived on Engine Two and Medic Two minutes later to assist.
“It’s always a good feeling when you help bring a new life into this world,” said Wallingford Fire Lt. Jeff Standish, who went out on the call with two other firefighters, two EMTs and an EMT trainee.
He said the family did much of the work and his crew largely helped keep them calm and ensure that everything went smoothly.
When the crews returned to fire headquarters on Hall Avenue, Fire Chief Richard Heidgerd visited to award them with the department’s stork pin, awarded to firefighters and EMTs after they help deliver a baby.
Deputy Fire Chief Joseph Czentnar said everything went smoothly in part thanks to the experience of the crew on scene. Many of them have helped deliver babies before — an infrequent call for the department, but one that does come in occasionally — and they have the extra in-house capabilities that comes with running their own ambulances.
“We’re one of only a handful (of fire departments) in the state that actually have our own ambulance service … It’s a rarity, but it's really something that's a positive thing for the community,” he said.
Czentnar said successfully delivering a newborn is a relief for firefighters, who are excited for any call where they can have a positive interaction with the community, rather than the car accidents, fires and medical ailments they go out on day and night.
“It’s something that’s very satisfying because usually we’re going to people on the worst day of their lives,” he said.
Standish said it was a relief for all the firefighters on his crew, since many of their calls can be stressful and traumatizing.
“With all the car accidents and overdoses and other horrific things we see to be able to go out to these calls and help guide someone through bringing a life into this world, it’s breathtaking,” he said.