Officer's paramedic training proves handy when couple can't get to hospital for baby's delivery

February 05, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Officer Derek Robbins thought he'd be just a spectator Tuesday afternoon when he responded to an emergency call.

The Danville police officer heard the call just after 4 p.m. for emergency medical services to go to Hampton Inn off the bypass, where Theresa Ponce was about to deliver a baby.

The delivery room was the back seat of her car in the motel's parking lot.

Ponce and her husband, Michael, were on their way from their home in Frankfort to Fort Logan Hospital in Stanford when the baby, her fourth child, decided it was the appropriate time to enter the world. They parked their car in the lot at Hampton Inn on Montgomery Way and called 911.

"I started feeling like it was going to be any time when we went through Lawrenceburg," said Theresa Ponce. "Through Harrodsburg, I thought I was going to burst, and when we hit Danville, I knew the baby was coming."


"She grabbed my arm and told me to stop," said Michael Ponce. "I didn't know where the hospital was in Danville, and I just whipped over in the first parking lot I found and called 911."

Robbins, fortunately, was less than a mile away.

"I wasn't very far away at all, and I got there in just a few seconds," he said. "The dad met me and told me the baby was already on its way, and wanted to know if he was doing everything OK."

Everything was OK, especially since Robbins is a certified paramedic and worked with Boyle County EMS before joining the police force. Minutes later, the Ponces were the proud parents of Maomi.

"Listen, I didn't do all that much," said the soft-spoken Robbins. "The mom and dad did great. She was so calm, considering she delivered a baby in 30-degree temperatures, in a car, with no doctor and no anesthetic. All I did was be there to catch the baby."

Her breathing passages were clogged

He did more than that, however. When the baby was born, she wasn't crying, and her breathing passages were clogged.

"I didn't have the right equipment, and I was getting worried because the baby was turning bluish," said Robbins. "I cleaned out her mouth the best I could, and she started taking little breaths. Then when the ambulance got there, and they got there really quick, they had an OB kit and were able to get her on oxygen. She pinked right up."

Michael Ponce said Robbins arrived at just the right time.

"He may think I was calm, but I was scared to death," he said. "I was in the delivery room when our last one was born, so I tried to remember everything I saw then. But let me tell you, I didn't remember all that well. I was never so glad to see anybody in my life."

Danville Police Chief Jeff Peek said officers at the station followed the events on the radio and reacted like spectators when word came back about the birth.

"We were high-fiving and cheering down here," he said. "It was so exciting to know that one of our own helped in something as miraculous as the birth of a baby. Derek is downplaying his role, but we're very proud of him and what he did.

"In all the regular work we do as police officers, it's not often we get to be a part of such a positive event," said Peek. "It also really points up how beneficial that EMS training is."

Robbins, who has a 3-year-old daughter of his own, said he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

"That baby was coming regardless of whether I was there or not," he said. "Everybody involved was very calm, especially the parents. I can't say enough about how they handled everything. They were great."

Robbins laughed when asked about his attachment to the baby.

"It's pretty cool that I got to sign the birth certificate," he said. "I was the first official there, and I still had the baby when the ambulance arrived, so I had to certify that the baby belonged to the mother. It felt pretty good to sign my name on that certificate."

Theresa and Maomi Ponce were released from Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center Wednesday afternoon, and Robbins was there to see them off, pink balloon in hand.

"We won't ever forget what he did for us," said Michael Ponce. "We'll have some story to tell Maomi when she gets older, won't we?"

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