Firefighters deliver baby in mother’s home
By Steve Metsch
When they got the call about a pregnant woman in distress, Lyons firefighters/paramedics thought they’d be rushing her by ambulance to the nearest hospital.
They didn’t expect they’d be delivering a baby in the woman’s house.
But that’s just what happened.
Lyons firefighter/paramedics Justin Krueger, Chris Skrabel, John Wojtowicz and Nicholas Pieta, along with Lt. Mathew McManus and police officer Michael Marose turned the home into a delivery room shortly after they arrived around 9 p.m. on April 18.
“Latisha Neils was going into labor, and our responding paramedics and firefighters delivered a newborn baby in her home,” Mayor Christopher Getty said when honoring the team at the May 15 meeting of the village board.
Each man received a plaque for “service above and beyond for the delivery of a newborn in an emergency situation,” Getty said.
The baby, named Christi, was delivered safely and is in good health. Neils and her baby did not attend the meeting.
Pieta, in his fourth year with the fire department, said, “It’s obviously a better location, a more sterile environment, to have a baby in the hospital.”
“But in this scenario, birth was imminent and there wasn’t really that option. There were signs of the baby crowning. We set up shop right there in the house and just waited for the baby to come,” Pieta said.
While delivering a baby “is definitely rare,” he noted he and his fellow firefighter/paramedics “tried to stay composed.” He had helped deliver a baby once before.
Fortunately, there were no complications like a breach birth, which would have required help from a hospital.
When told her son helped deliver a baby, Roberta Pieta said her first response was “are you kidding me?”
She attended the board meeting with other family members. “He wasn’t expecting it,” she said of the surprise delivery. “You don’t hear about this happening too much anymore.”
“I keep thinking of how long my deliveries were and I thought, ‘Wow, it must be nice to deliver a baby so quickly,” she said with a laugh.
Fire chief Gordon Nord Jr., said while they are trained to deliver babies, “this doesn’t happen every day, which is why we wanted to recognize them. They’re upset they got awards. They feel it’s part of their job.”
“But this is why you put the time in, so you’re able to handle these situations. Mom and baby were both healthy. That’s all we can ask for,” Nord said.
Plaques were also given by Nord to fire department Lt. Tim O’Toole for 20 years of service, and to Deputy Chief Keith Gajeski for 25 years.
“He keeps his department running extremely smoothly,” Getty said of Nord.
— Desplaines Valley News