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Police officer makes surprise in-home delivery

Date: 11/28/2011

Nov. 28, 2011

By Chris Maza

Reminder Assistant Editor

HAMPDEN — It was a weekend of surprises for the Estes family.

Mandy Estes had just thrown a birthday party for her husband John, bringing in family and friends from Pennsylvania to surprise him. While Mandy originally hailed from Monson, her husband is from southeastern Pennsylvania, where they had lived for five years before moving to Hampden last year.

“I had a house full of people — a bunch of guys, his brothers, my sister,” she said. “There were people all over the place.”

Little did any of them know that one more surprise was on the way.

The next day, Nov. 13, Mandy, who was 38 weeks pregnant, started having contractions at about 9:30 and by 10 a.m. her water broke. Not long after that, she realized that she didn’t have time to make it to the hospital.

“I called my doctor and she told me to take a shower and eat something because it’s a long process, so I took a shower and got dressed, but by the time I got my socks and shoes on and headed out the bedroom door, I had to dive back onto the bed because I knew she was coming,” she said.

John called 911 shortly before noon and told Hampden dispatcher Racky Kennison the situation and he sent a call out to Sgt. Joseph Henry, who was the first to respond, followed closely by Officer Scott Trombly.

Henry was directed to the bedroom where he found Mandy on the bed with little time to spare.

“By the time I got gloved up and put something sterile under her, things were rolling,” He said. “[Mandy] was very, very good, but I think she was concerned that she wasn’t at a hospital.”

Mandy admitted she was very nervous, and had good reason to be. When she was pregnant with her first child, her son Hendrick, labor was induced at 36 weeks.

“He was very sick,” she said. “He had respiratory distress syndrome, which means he had very weak lungs and had a very hard time breathing.”

In addition to being two weeks early in the delivery of her second child, Mandy had gestational diabetes. For the baby, she said, that can cause a delay in the development of its lungs.

Henry spoke with Mandy to understand what was going on and to reassure her that everything was going to be all right.

“I was trying to assess the situation and I told her I was married and had three kids myself and that we’d get through this,” he recalled.

“I think he was saying it as a way to keep himself calm, too,” Mandy said with a laugh.

The entire labor took only two hours and Veralynn Freya Estes was officially born at noon. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 ounces and measured 20 inches in length.

“She came out completely perfect,” Mandy said.

For Henry, delivering a baby was a first and a moment he’ll never forget.

“I was thrilled at two points. The first was when I saw the baby crowning. I was relieved that it wasn’t an arm or a leg and I knew then that things were going well,” he said. “The second was delivering the little girl. I held her, gave her a tap on the heel and she started crying. It was an unbelievable feeling.

“It’s a brand new little life and to be a part of that is something very special. Everyone in that room knew something special was happening,” he continued.

Henry explained that while all Hampden police officers are trained as first responders, delivering a baby is a rare thing.

“Every police officer in the state is a first responder and our training officer makes sure we are regularly trained in what to do,” he said. “There isn’t a lot of time dedicated to baby delivery and it is a whole lot different being there than reading about it in a book.”

He also admitted that the experience of actually delivering a baby was far different than watching his children being born.

“When you’re the father, you see the child being born by looking over people’s shoulders,” he said. “This was entirely different.”

Shortly after, the ambulance arrived and before taking Mandy and Veralynn to the hospital, the paramedics clamped off the umbilical chord and let John cut it.

Henry has stopped in to see the Estes family since the delivery and Mandy said she is appreciative for his part in bringing her new daughter into the world.

“All John and I were there for was to help coach her and make her comfortable,” he said. “She did all the hard work.”

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