It was a busy Wednesday evening for Newtown emergency personnel as they responded to a motor vehicle crash cracking a telephone pole on Chestnut Hill Road, a tree falling on Washington Avenue and medical emergencies and other incidents spread across town. Crews were stretched thin.
But then shortly after 6 p.m., dispatchers received a call for help that couldn't wait. A man driving his pregnant wife to a birthing center at Danbury Hospital said the couple had pulled their car into the gravel lot on Church Hill Road across the street from the Blue Colony Diner because the woman was about to give birth at any moment.
Within a minute or so, firefighters, medics and police officers converged on the lot and the Woodbury couple to help bring a new life into the world. But it turned out the baby boy was too quick for even these first responders.
By the time Newtown Hook and Ladder Fire Chief Jason Rivera arrived, the baby boy had been born in the front passenger seat of the Volkswagen.
Rivera said he and another firefighter checked the baby’s vital signs, provided oxygen and waited with the couple until the medics arrived to cut the umbilical cord, tend to mother and child before whisking them away in an ambulance to Danbury Hospital.
It was the couple’s second child, and the woman appeared to be well versed in what to do, Rivera said.
“She was pretty in control,” he said.
Both mother and baby were going to be OK, officials said.
The baby’s father declined to identify himself, saying he and his wife wanted to preserve their privacy.
Prior to jumping back into his Volkswagen to follow the ambulance to Danbury Hospital, the father asked the emergency medical technicians and firefighters to gather for a photo of the occasion by the car.
“Let me just get a team photo,” he told them.
Although, this was Rivera’s first time delivering a baby in Newtown, as a paid firefighter in Stamford, he’s had to deliver three other babies during his career, he said.
“It’s better to have it done at the hospital,” Rivera said with a smile.