Baby's birth puts officer's training to test

October 21, 2006|By Anica Butler | Anica Butler,sun reporter

A week after taking a refresher course in emergency procedures, an Anne Arundel County police officer put his training to the test by delivering a baby boy in a sandwich shop parking lot.

Officer Jerald Fiesler of Edgewater had stopped at a nearby Subway for dinner Thursday night before his shift started when a man rushed inside and frantically called for help.

Tom Fontaine said his wife, Nicole, was in the parking lot, having a baby. Now.

The couple were on their way to Anne Arundel Medical Center about 10:30 p.m. when they realized they wouldn't arrive at the Annapolis hospital in time.

Noticing a marked county police car at the Subway on Mayo Road, they pulled in to find Fiesler.

"The initial feeling I had was shock, then I just ran right out," Fiesler, 27, said yesterday. The two Subway employees on duty followed, bearing clean towels, one of the employees said.

After making a quick call to dispatch and donning a pair of blue latex gloves, Fiesler made his way to the minivan to find Nicole Fontaine in the midst of labor with her third child. Her due date wasn't until Monday.

She was sitting in the front passenger seat, Fiesler said, with her feet slightly elevated and her hands down around the emerging baby.

The baby seemed to be tangled in the umbilical cord, Fiesler said, with the cord wrapped around its neck.

"He couldn't come out," Fiesler said. "The first thing I did was try to pull the umbilical cord up around the back of the baby's head but it was too tight."

He then realized that the umbilical cord was also wrapped around the baby's right leg. Once he was able to untangle the leg, he said, there was enough slack to free the baby's head, and "the baby was born."

Nicole Fontaine asked to hold the baby, he said, and he placed him on her chest while he held the umbilical cord.

"In our training, we're told you're supposed to clamp the umbilical cord," he said. "I didn't have anything to tie it off with so I just held it in my fingers until the Fire Department arrived."

In an indication of how quickly it all happened, Lt. Russ Davies, a county Fire Department spokesman, said first-responders were there four minutes after getting the call.

Both mother and child appeared to be strong and in good health, Fiesler said.

Nicole Fontaine and the baby were taken to Anne Arundel Medical Center. Their conditions were not available last night. The Fontaines declined to be interviewed for this story.

Fiesler is a four-year veteran of the force. In addition to the training officers receive in the police academy, they are required to take an in-service refresher every three years.

The refresher course that Fiesler took on Oct. 13 included instructions on delivering a baby.

"I just remembered my training and was able to recall what I needed to do," he said.

The entire incident lasted only about a half-hour, he said.

"I feel good. It's not something you do every day," Fiesler said. "It's a positive thing in all the negative stuff I deal with."

Afterward, he went back inside the Subway, where he's a regular customer, picked up his sandwich and went to work.

The BMT, chips and drink were free that night.

"Are you kidding?" said Gabriela Rojas, one of the Subway employees. "Doing this heroic thing and we charge him?"

anica.butler@baltsun.com

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