By Guy McCarthy, Daily Bulletin Staff Writer..
The pregnant woman's doctor had told her she had about three weeks before her baby was due.
So she was surprised late Saturday when her water broke and she began having contractions in her Fontana apartment. Overcome by pain, she lay down in a short hallway. There was no time to get to a hospital. An anxious friend called 911.
Just before midnight, with the help of two county firefighter-paramedics from Station 73 in Fontana, the woman gave birth to a healthy baby girl. The mom and her infant were safe and sound Sunday at San Antonio Community Hospital in Upland.
One of the firefighter-paramedics who helped deliver the baby said it wasn't her first time witnessing or helping bring a new life into the world. But it was a new experience to have to take charge of the situation.
"This is the first time I delivered a baby myself," said Kelly Carter, 29, who grew up in Joshua Tree. She and firefighter-paramedic Daniel Arias had about 15 minutes to prepare for the birth before the newborn arrived.
Carter graduated from Yucca Valley High in 1995 and worked for hospitals and on ambulances in the Morongo Basin and Rancho Mirage before she earned her paramedic license at Crafton Hills Community College. She's been with the county fire department since February 2002.
She estimated she'd watched or helped with four to five childbirths before she had to take charge Saturday night.
"I wasn't nervous," Carter said Sunday during a phone interview. "I'm confident in my skills and training. We were just fortunate there were no complications. I'm just thankful it was an easy birth."
It wasn't easy for the mom, though.
"She was doing more yelling and screaming than talking," Carter said. "It was a very short hallway. Kind of tight. Not a lot of room to move around. But there were doorways that opened onto other rooms. We made do."
The newborn girl was silent in her first moments, Carter said.
"She was blue when she first came out. They always are," Carter said. "I was cleaning her airway, drying her off, rubbing her down to stimulate her. She gave out a few little whimpers, then she gave that first good strong cry ... it definitely gave me a sigh of relief."
The mom was exhausted at that point, Carter said.
"She just wanted to hold her little girl when it was over," Carter said. "She said `Thank you' and a woman who was there with her was very grateful."
All firefighters are trained to help with childbirths, but occasions when they have to step up and use the training are rare, said one of Carter's supervisors, county fire Capt. Jack DeJong.
"It definitely doesn't happen every day of the week," DeJong said Sunday. "In a 30-year career, you might have to do it a handful of times. But helping bring a life into the world is a memorable experience, for the parents and for firefighters. We're just glad to have the training, to be there if needed."
Contact writer Guy McCarthy at (909) 386-3872