Sitka parents get wish: Baby born at home

Posted: Sunday, March 03, 2002

Erik Baldwin and Theresa Stoddard had pretty much given up hope of having their second baby at home.

After arriving in Sitka three months ago from Flagstaff, Ariz., they looked into possibilities for a home birth, but decided - given the scarcity of midwives - to have their baby at the hospital.

But on the morning of Feb. 23, the couple got what they wanted all along when Ezekiel Charles Raven Baldwin made a surprise entrance into the world at their Sitka home.

Baldwin said the action started around 6 a.m. when Stoddard, 40, told her husband she was going into labor. Baldwin started the coffee maker and the car in preparation for the trip to the hospital.

"When I came back, Theresa had the amniotic sac in her hand," Baldwin said. "She was yelling, 'The baby's coming now - we're not going to make it to the hospital!' "

Baldwin called Dr. Tara Flynn, who had previously volunteered to watch the Baldwins' 15-month-old daughter, Zelda Mae Elizabeth, when Stoddard went into labor. But Flynn, who had just had a baby herself, was unable to come immediately because she had no one to watch her own three children.

"She said, 'You need to call 911.' I said, 'Good idea,' " Baldwin said.

Within 90 seconds after his 911 call, a police officer was at the door.

"As soon as everyone got there, Theresa let out a blood-curdling scream because the baby had just passed into the birth canal," Baldwin said. "That seemed to put everyone on edge."

Baldwin said he didn't want the ambulance crew to take Stoddard to the hospital, because Stoddard felt the birth was imminent and she couldn't move into a position safe for travel. Baldwin held Zelda as they watched Ezekiel's head appear, with the umbilical cord around his neck.

"The baby just slipped out into their hands," Baldwin said. "They suctioned out his nose and mouth, and I stimulated his feet to get him to breathe. He went from blue to pink real fast. Once the baby was breathing, I was holding the baby."

The first thing the father did was to work his way through the crowd in the bathroom to a place where he could show Stoddard her new son.

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