This baby had her own idea of where to be born
This is part of a continuing series of stories from Cape Cod Healthcare’s Cape Cod Health News, exploring the world of paramedics and EMTs across Cape Cod, and their incalculable contribution to the region’s healthcare system. There are nearly 1,000 of these professionals who also serve as firefighters in all 15 towns. Paramedics undergo up to two years of classroom training and 400 hours of clinical work in the hospital, as well as continuous retraining coordinated by the Cape and Islands Emergency Medical Services System.
They’re always ready for the next heart attack, stroke or car accident. But, a baby?
David Gelinas, Jason Travis and Louis Sassone boasted decades of experience as paramedics, but on this summer morning, they would encounter among the rarest of contingencies.
They would be delivering a newborn in their ambulance.
The rescuers from the combined fire district of Centerville, Osterville and Marstons Mills (COMM) were summoned by 911 to the home of Eugenia Manganelli, where it was immediately evident that nature would not wait.
“When we first entered the Manganellis’ home, she was walking around, and I thought to myself that we had more time to attend her,” recounted Sassone. “We went to get our transport cot to begin preparing her for the ride to Cape Cod Hospital.”
But, almost immediately, the scenario dramatically changed.
“The husband, Thiago, was excited and nervous. He looked at me and asked, ‘Are we going to have the baby here?’”
‘Yes, sir,” I responded.
“He looked back at us and said outright, ‘Let’s do it,’ and gave me a high five.”
Sassone went back into the house and Gelinas, Travis and Ryan Scott, a paramedic intern, began preparing for the delivery. The paramedics began asking Manganelli questions about her prenatal care and what number child this would be (it was her third).
As she was answering, they saw the baby’s head starting to crown.
They decided to move her immediately to the ambulance – an emergency room on wheels – where the environment would be more sterile and they had ready access to all necessary equipment and medications, including birthing kit.
Within two minutes of travel time, the baby’s head emerged.
A Team Effort
Scott, who was experiencing his first delivery even before he became a certified paramedic, attended to Manganelli while Gelinas assumed the obstetrician’s role.
“I continuously coached her throughout,” he called. “As the baby’s head emerged, I started suctioning her mouth to remove any mucous.”
At the same time, Scott administered oxygen to the mother, while Gelinas continually encouraged her to push, while intensely watching to be sure the umbilical cord was not around the baby’s neck.