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He's helpful around the house

Husband, police dispatchers combine efforts to help deliver Juneau baby

Posted: Sunday, January 26, 2003

Jadey Grimmett got out of bed early Thursday morning for some water. Twenty-five minutes later she and her new baby boy were crying on the bathroom floor.

Just a week shy of being nine months pregnant, Grimmett - aided by her husband, Scott, and Juneau police dispatchers over the phone - gave birth to the couple's son while waiting at home for the ambulance.

"I started having back pain," said Jadey. "But it was exactly the same way it happened with Gavin (their first son). All of a sudden it changed. It just came so hard and so fast. I couldn't move. I was in so much pain. I couldn't even go get Scott. It just happened so fast."

Her husband, a port securityman with the Coast Guard and former firefighter and EMT, was still in bed 20 feet away. But he said that while lying there he heard his wife's breathing change and ran into the room. He tenderly asked if she was OK.

"I yelled, 'No, I'm not OK!' " she said. "He checked me, you know, to see where I was (in the labor). He felt the baby's head crowning."

She was in labor for nine hours with their first son; surely this would be the same, they thought. Scott phoned family friends who had agreed to watch Gavin while they went to the hospital. But less than five minutes after the first contraction, the Grimmetts' baby was ready to be in the world - and he was in a hurry.

"I didn't know if she could go to the hospital," said Scott. "I called 911 for an ambulance. They asked if she felt like she needed to push."

Recalling that question, Jadey said, "We were way past that."

Dispatchers Nick Meacher and Jennifer Etheridge, who were unavailable for comment, decided the couple couldn't wait for the ambulance, Scott said. Scott was going to have to deliver his baby in the bathroom.

"As a firefighter I'd assisted on a couple of births," he said. "But I'd never sat first chair before, you know, and I usually had six fellow firefighters around to help, you know? I still wasn't thinking she'd deliver.

"It's funny what you think of when you are in situations like that."

He put a bath mat on the floor to make his wife more comfortable. He said he applied pressure to the baby's head. The dispatchers thought it might keep the baby in until the ambulance got there. But the baby wasn't hip to that plan. Scott just kept following the dispatchers' instructions.

"I checked for the umbilical cord," he said. "I couldn't feel it. It was weird, I didn't know if they even told me to do that (check for the cord) or if I was remembering my training. He was face down. I rotated his shoulders to get him parallel and in position. His head was out. I just started wiping fluid out of his mouth and nose. I was getting ready to suck out the fluid.

"I heard him cry. I knew everything was all right as soon as I heard him cry and I could breathe. It was neat, because at that point I got to hand her the baby."

Scott wrapped their new baby in a towel and laid him on his wife's stomach.

"I remember asking, 'What is he?' " Jadey said. "Scott lifted up his legs and said, 'A boy.' I wasn't nervous until he was born. Then I thought, 'We have this baby in our house. What do we do now?' "

The couple sat on linoleum against their shower holding their son.

"It's weird, I feel almost more bonded to him because we had that time alone with him where it was just us and no one else was around," Jadey said. "It was so special. I'll never forget any part of it."

The Grimmetts eventually got to the hospital around 5 a.m. that morning. By Friday afternoon they brought home their 8-pound 11-ounce baby boy, who still needs a name.

Scott said he was glad he was there.

"The experience was totally awesome," he said. "Just to be there for my wife in her time of need. That I wasn't (on duty) or had to be away. ... It was such a spiritual moment."

She agreed and said if he hadn't been there "I would have killed him."

"We think we might name him 'Iron' Will - William - like the Alaska sled dog," said Scott. "It says a lot about how he came into the world."

Melanie Plenda can be reached mplenda@juneauempire.com.



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