Ohio Deputy Helps Deliver Baby in Back of Car
TRENTON - They were told by doctors at Mercy Health Fairfield the labor pains were false, and they should return home. But Gracie Rae Holt had other plans.
A few minutes after Steve Holt and his longtime girlfriend, Heather Fitzgerald, walked inside their home on Charleston Court, her water broke, so they raced back to the car. Holt realized they didn't have to time to drive back to the hospital, so he called 911 and told the dispatcher to have paramedics meet them in the parking lot of Speedway, 987 W. State St., around the corner from where they live.
Fitzgerald got in the back seat, Holt turned up the heater, and within a few minutes, Butler County Deputy David Runnells arrived on the scene, followed by Trenton police officers. By then, Gracie's head was "popping out," Holt said.
Runnells, a 17-year veteran of the force and EMT in Madison Twp., didn't hesitate to step in for delivery duty, but he had to convince Holt.
"I had to do some talking with him," Runnells said. "I had to tell him about my training." He instructed Holt to help Fitzgerald with her breathing and to support her back.
Holt, 33, described the scene in the Ford Fusion as "pretty chaotic"
During the delivery, he had "2 million things" racing through his head.
"It was like what you see on 'Cops,'" he said. "Not in your life."
Runnells, a Trenton resident and the father of two grown children, said he had been in the life squad with mothers and babies, but the Christmas Eve delivery was his first in the field.
"It was beautiful," Runnells said.
He relied on his training and medical bags he keeps in his cruiser to make the delivery.
"I was thinking about complications and what could go wrong," Runnells said. Thankfully, he said, that didn't happen.
"She had good color and was crying. Perfect," Runnells said.
Holt said the deputy "took control of the situation."
Then he added: "He was a godsend at the moment. The timing was perfect. Unbelievable."
And if the deputy hadn't shown up when he did?
"I would have delivered the baby myself," Holt said. "That baby wasn't waiting at all for anything. It was the most epic 15 minutes of my life."
Fitzgerald added: "It was absolutely crazy. I'm just glad he (Runnells) showed up when he did."
Gracie was born at 4:01 a.m., 13 minutes after Holt called 911. Because it was freezing cold outside, and she was born in Speedway's parking lot, her nickname is "Speedy Freeze."
Gracie was transported to Fort Hamilton Hospital. She weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was 18 inches long. Fitzgerald was released from the hospital on Christmas Day, and Gracie came home Wednesday.
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