People get called into the line of duty at the most unexpected times, and for a former Drumheller resident, it was delivering a baby at a grocery store parking lot in Edmonton.
Tamala Peters, who now resides in Leduc, tells the Mail she was on her way shopping with her fiancé at the Superstore April 3 at about 1:30 p.m. when she heard a woman screaming.
“It was an adult woman screaming so you wonder if there was something wrong, but as soon as we went over there, she was yelling ‘call 911,’” said Peters. “The woman said ‘the baby’s coming’ so I dialed 911.”
She soon realized the baby was coming right way and handed her cell phone to a bystander to continue the call. The woman was on the front seat of her truck and appeared pinned in the vehicle. Peters helped the woman remove her jeans and the baby soon followed. In fact, it appeared the woman’s jeans were the only thing keeping the baby in.
“The poor little thing wasn’t breathing, so I flipped the baby on its stomach and cleared its airway and kept encouraging it to cough it out and a few seconds later it started to cry,” she said.
Peters held and kept the baby warm until the ambulance arrived. The paramedics clamped off the umbilical cord and took the baby to the ambulance, and began treating the mother.
“I didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl, I didn’t know what she had,” Peters said.
She soon learned it was a girl and the mother and baby are doing fine.
“I was just shaking, I was in shock, it happened so fast. You are present in the moment it is happening, and then you stand back and all the paramedics are trying to get her out of the car and take care of the baby… I couldn’t believe it happened it was so surreal.”
Peters was an EMT–A but had never attended a birth before, let alone one in the field.
“Imminent birth is certainly a section that you read up on, but it is a rare occurrence for an EMT to ever actually be a part of a live birth in the field, so much so that EMS awards their staff with a certificate and a stork pin if they ever deliver in the field,” she said.
EMS has extended that honour to Peters and on Friday, April 5, she was presented.