Local couple delivers baby at home
April 3, 2002 By Jenna MacNeil, Staff Reporter
Foothills EMS Okotoks medics (from left to right) John Rich, Dave Roe and Mike Luchia, the 9-1-1 dispatcher, visit with Joe, Sandy, Brenden and baby Liam Fleet just nine days after Liam's birth in the Fleet's Okotoks home. photo by Jenna MacNeil
An Okotoks mom and her baby boy are home and healthy after the baby's unconventional entrance to the world earlier this month.
Mike Luchia was on duty at the Foothills Regional EMS communications centre in Black Diamond Monday evening, March 18 when he answered a 9-1-1 call from Joe Fleet.
Joe informed Luchia his wife Sandy was giving birth in their bathroom.
The couple had been expecting the birth to happen soon. They had even spent the afternoon at the hospital in High River anticipating the baby's arrival, but decided to return home and wait a bit longer.
The wait did not last long. Around 9:30 in the evening Sandy realized she was in labor.
'She said something's coming, so I started the car and phoned the hospital to tell them we were coming,' explained Joe. 'Then she screamed, Joe, the head is coming'!'
Joe quickly broke the connection with the hospital and dialed 9-1-1.
Luchia answered the call at 9:48 pm and coached the couple through the delivery. Two minutes later, Liam Jonathan Fleet entered the world, a healthy eight pounds and nine ounces and almost 21 inches long.
There was a brief time when the baby was not breathing, but Luchia talked Joe through the problem and soon Liam was breathing regularly.
Two minutes after the birth, the Foothills EMS Okotoks team of John Rich, Dave Roe and Tyler McLellan arrived.
'Mom, Baby and Dad were doing fine,' said Rich of the situation when the ambulance arrived. 'They did all the hard work for us.'
The team focused on keeping Sandy warm and calm while preparing the family for the trip to the High River hospital. Members of the Okotoks Fire Department also attended the scene to assist the medics with transporting the patients.
Rich said this is the first home delivery situation he's responded to that was resolved positively.
'This justifies all the bad things that we see,' he said.
Sandy said hearing Luchia's voice on the phone during the delivery helped keep her calm and confident, but she was still grateful to see the medics arrive.
'I knew we could do it, but once I knew (the medics) were here, I felt better,' she said.
'I didn't know I could do it,' protested Joe. 'At the time, I was thinking, Oh man, I'm so underqualified for this!' But we got lucky. We had (Luchia and his) experience on the phone.'
Luchia has spent more than a dozen years as a medic and a dispatcher and had previously assisted in a similar home delivery situation.
'Mike is very calm on the phone,' said Rich of his colleague.
'All these guys (dispatchers) are medically trained, they've spent time on the cars (ambulances), so that really helps,' he said.
Both the medical team and the Fleets agree having gone through the birth of their first son Brenden the couple was more aware of what to expect and how to deal with the situation.
'That makes a huge difference,' said Rich.
'I think I was pretty calm, not bad,' said Sandy.
'All things considered, you were remarkably calm,' added Joe.
'It worked out for the best,' he continued. 'When you think of how many things could go wrong, everything went right. People do this in a hospital with doctors and half a dozen nurses around for a reason. We were lucky.'
Sandy said overall the experience has been positive and a memorable way to welcome their son to the world.
'For a day or two we were the celebrities of the hospital,' she said. 'That was kind of nice.'
But she pointed out the experience wasn't easy.
'It took a long time to emotionally calm down,' said Sandy. 'I just can't believe it.'
The Fleets said they are grateful for all the help they received and are beginning to adjust to life as normal again.
Luchia is arranging for the couple to get a copy of the 9-1-1 call that brought their second son into the world.