When Jewel Govern had her first baby four years ago, it took 15 hours of labor to arrive. Things went a bit differently Jan. 5, when baby number two arrived just an hour into labor and with the help of Rochester Hills firefighters.
Fortunately, Govern and her family live very close to the main fire station off Livernois. Firefighter/paramedics arrived in just a few minutes, prompting Jewel’s husband Steve to ask a few days later: “Did you guys slide down a pole or something? How did you get there so fast?”
The entire family—mom and dad, new baby Eliza and big sister Isabella—stopped by the fire station Jan. 9 to say thanks to the paramedics and emergency medical technicians who had assisted with the birth. See the video: Rochester Hills Firefighters Deliver Baby
“You’d think these guys work for a day care center or something, “Steve Govern said. “They were just so gentle with the baby. They knew exactly what to do, wrapped her up all nice. It was an awesome experience we’ll talk about it for many, many years, I’m sure.”
Jewel Govern, 28, said it all happened very quickly. She woke up with a contraction around 12:30 a.m. Eliza was born around 1:30 a.m.—no one is exactly sure of the time. Jewel said she was “pretty relaxed. I think it had to do with already having one (child) and also our class we took to be prepared. I was kind of in the zone.”
Steve Govern, 29, was not so relaxed. When his first child was born, “I almost passed out just being in the room,” he recalled. “I didn’t like it.” This time, with his wife on the bathroom floor, he had no choice.
“I had the game face on like I was going to do it,” he said. “The 911 lady was very nice. I had her on speaker phone. They’ll tell you that as soon as they got there, I jetted out of the bathroom; ‘you guys take over.’ I kind of felt like a coward after. I was concerned, like am I going to pull it out too far, is it going to hit the floor? But everything went well. I am really grateful to these guys, big time.”
Though she had been experiencing some contractions the week before Eliza was born, Jewel Govern went to bed that night not thinking delivery was imminent. From the time her water broke, it was only five or 10 minutes until Eliza arrived. Fortunately, firefighter/paramedic Justin Boks was there to catch her. Not a father himself, it was his first experience with childbirth in two years on the job.
Boks said paramedics do obstetrics rotation during their training, but he was unable to witness a birth at that time. He said he kept his cool and made the delivery because he was the first one through the door.
“If you freak out, she’s going to freak out even more,” he said. “You try to hold your composure.”
On Monday, Fire Chief Ron Crowell handed out pink stork pins to the four members of his department who attended the birth: Boks, firefighter/paramedic Andrew Matz, EMT David Kopko and EMT Doug Quaine.
“It was a nice change of pace from all the other calls we normally have,” Boks said.
Jewel Govern called the men heroes. Steve Govern said they all seemed “incredibly calm.”
“We were extremely grateful for your diligence and your preparation and everything,” he said. “Who knows what would have happened?”