It took seven firefighters from Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and two anxious parents-to-be before Gabriella entered the world during this winter’s heaviest snowfall.
Rescue workers from Silver Spring’s Fire Station #1 were called to an “imminent delivery” at an apartment complex on East-West Highway at 3 a.m., March 14.
“It was right during the middle” of the storm, and it was sleeting out, said Jay Miller, master firefighter and paramedic.
A fire engine and an ambulance arrived to find a mother about to give birth to her first child. “She was crowning when we got there,” Miller said.
Miller, volunteer Griffin Sloan and two others immediately want upstairs while other rescue workers began shoveling snow to make sure there would be a clear path to the ambulance. “We all kind of took part,” Miller said.
The mother told Sloan her contractions were two minutes apart. Realizing how far along she was, he realized “We were going to deliver on scene.” He and Miller held the woman’s legs while she “gave a few good pushes,” Sloan said.
A healthy little girl was born less than 20 minutes after the rescue workers arrived.
The father helped by cutting the cord. “Dad was anxious. Mom was a little preoccupied,” he said. “Dad did a good job. He was very supportive.”
Once everything was under control, the rescue workers carried the mother and infant down several flights of steps to the awaiting ambulance and then on to Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring. They were discharged Thursday.
While the new parents may not have agreed, Sloan called the event “pretty routine.”
Well, routine “minus the snowstorm,” added Ben Jeffrey, a firefighter and EMT, who also assisted.
A hospital spokeswoman said the family didn’t want to speak to the press. However, the new parents had previously granted an interview on Channel 9.
During that interview, the mother said she went to take a shower and doubled over in pain. It was then she realized they weren’t going to make it to the hospital, and her husband called 911.
She praised the rescue workers, calling them “awesome.”
The father summed up the experience by declaring it “just a bizarre, strange, surreal, wonderful moment.”
This delivery was Sloan’s first, and he was pleased everything went well.
It was Miller’s second time helping deliver a baby in the past month. But that is unusual, he said. In his 15 years of service, he has only delivered three babies.
In the past 90 days, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has taken 34 women who either were about to deliver a baby or already had delivered one, according to Pete Piringer, MCFRS public information officer. The county assists about 140 women in such cases annually.