This is an article from todays issue of the McDonough County Voice. The newspaper from Macomb, Illinois....I just want to say congrats to the family and GREAT job by the Blandinsville Fire/Rescue Dept..
Blandinsville, Ill. -
In a story that seems remarkably similar to the one we celebrate on Dec. 25, a Dallas City man and his wife, who was about ready to give birth, went out into the cold, dark, night last Sunday, headed for a safe place to have their baby.
But someone up above had other plans, and the couple was forced to stop along their journey. The couple welcomed their baby, a son, on Illinois Route 9 in a makeshift stable: a 2000 Ford Taurus.
Connie and Eric Heath were at home around 5:30 p.m. Sunday when Connie began having mild contractions. As the contractions increased, the Heaths decided it was time to drive to McDonough District Hospital in Macomb.
“I was freaking out because I knew something was not right,” Connie said during a telehone interview Friday morning. Her baby wasn’t due until Jan. 11, 2010.
About three miles east of Blandinsville, Connie’s water broke, and from there things began to happen very quickly. Connie felt something, looked down and saw the umbilical cord. Eric called 911 from the car.
“I didn’t know before that Blandinsville had EMTs,” Eric said Friday morning. “I know now.”
When Blandinsville emergency personnel arrived at 7:40 p.m., including EMT Director Russell Oliver, Fire Chief Gary Campbell, and EMTs Cheryl Campbell, Noel Phelps, Jake Kreps and Rich Boyer, the umbilical cord was around the baby’s neck and a foot was visible. The baby was going to be born breach.
“The minute we got there, the baby was already on its way,” Oliver said Friday morning.
“When I got there, there was the mom, and I got in the front seat,” Blandinsville EMT Noel Phelps said Friday morning, adding she was impressed how well Connie did, under the difficult circumstances.
“She was quite the trooper,” she said.
Phleps arrived on the scene in her own vehicle, just behind the other EMTs.
At 7:45 p.m., Chase James Heath entered the world at 6 pounds, 4 ounces and was 19 inches long.
“Once I heard him cry, I knew he was going to be okay,” Connie said.
Oliver credited his well-trained EMTs for safely delivering the baby under the circumstances.
On top of the baby being born breach, they were outdoors on a bitterly cold night, in the non-sterile environment of the car.
“I think it was probably a good thing our people didn’t have time to think,” Oliver said about his team’s response. “They did what they needed to do, they reacted.”
In addition to the Blandinsville emergency personnel, McDonough District Hospital EMT Bill Stone and MDH paramedic Chris Larkner were on the scene. Blandinsville police directed traffic around car.
The Heaths and their new son finally made it to MDH, where EMTs Cheryl Campbell and Noel Phelps, mothers themselves, signed the birth certificate.
The birth certificate lists the baby’s place of birth as “450 E. Route 9, Blandinsville.”
Phelps, who has been an EMT for less than two years, said she had a once-in-lifetime experience helping to deliver the baby.
“Some people are an EMT for 50 years and never get to experience something like this,” Phelps said. “The only thing I can say it that it’s the most amazing, scary thing I’ve been through.”
Both Phelps and Oliver said the baby’s safe birth was a team effort among all those on the scene.
On Friday morning, baby Chase was healthy and at home with his mother and big brothers Alec, 10, Braxton, 4, and Draidan, 1.
The Heaths said they will always be grateful for all of the emergency personnel who helped to safely deliver their baby.
“They kept yelling at me to push,” Connie Heath said. “If it wasn’t for them, it wouldn’t have turned out very good. I’m just grateful they were there.”
The MDH staff, she added, welcomed the new-born baby with the same caring and supportive attitude as the emergency personnel.
Eric Heath, who now refers to his 2000 Ford Taurus as a “mobile birthing unit,” said, “A big thanks to them.”
Sunday at 2 p.m., the Heaths and all the emergency personnel who took part in the birth will reunite at the Blandinsville Fire Station.