Surprise! Baby Doesn't Wait for Doctor, is Born at Home
Strongsville firemedics deliver Avon Lake couple's girl in bathroom
When Charlotte "Charlie" Zimmerman made her grand entrance into this world Monday night, it wasn't exactly the way anyone planned.
Charlie was born at her grandparents' Strongsville home, minutes after six Strongsville firemedics arrived.
"My wife almost delivered her own grandchild," the new grandpa, Barry Zimmerman, said.
Fortunately, firemedics arrived in time to step in.
"Delivery in the field doesn't happen very often," said firefighter Tony Hunt, who said it was the first time he assisted in a birth. "We're all pleased it was a safe delivery -- that's what's important."
Here's what happened: Zimmerman's son, Josh, 27, and his girlfriend, Katie, were planning to go to the hospital Tuesday to have labor induced.
The couple, who live in Avon Lake, were staying Monday night at the Zimmermans' Strongsville home so Barry could babysit Katie's other girls, 5 and 2, while the others went to the hospital.
But Charlie had other ideas. While Katie was in the shower late Monday afternoon, she went into labor.
When Barry's wife, Kim, got home from work, she discovered Katie in full-on labor and called 911.
"She (Kim) actually saw the head coming out," Barry said.
Three firemedics from Fire Station 2 -- John Douglas, Jason Cerovac and Chad Bowman -- arrived, followed by backup from Station 4 -- Tony Hunt, Tom Sullivan and Tom Brophy.
Hunt said the baby arrived "within minutes" after he got there.
Mother and child were taken to Fairview Hospital, both healthy and happy.
Zimmerman has nothing but praise for the Strongsville safety forces, from dispatcher Rene Dougherty, who gave Kim careful instructions on what to do, to the firemedics who arrived on the scene.
"Everyone involved just did an amazing job," he said.
Fire Chief Jeff Branic said if a crew is available, the Strongsville Fire Department sends a backup unit to assist when the call is critical -- or has the potential to become critical.
In this case, "nature took its course, and our medics assisted providing emergency care to ensure a happy outcome," he said.
Branic said delivery in the field is a "low-frequency, high-anxiety event" that the crew handled very well. He said Douglas led the team in delivering the baby.
"Mom and baby could not have been in better hands in this situation," he said.