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|Baby David makes dramatic arrival on Mother's Day|
Mother's Day 2008 is a day not to be forgotten by a few Miss-Lou residents who became involved in the miracle of childbirth.
Heather Crouch was 33 weeks into her pregnancy Sunday evening and was enjoying some quiet time at home in Monterey. Her husband, Al, was offshore working.
Over the past months, the couple have been preparing for a June 28th due date of their first child.
Throughout the weekend she had not been feeling well, but attributed it to the normal discomforts of pregnancy. But when her water broke, she knew it was time to head to Natchez Community Hospital where she planned to give birth.
She called her neighbor and family friend, Shelia Duncan, to drive her to Natchez. She called her mother, Annette Jenkins, and mother-in-law, Minnie Sue Crouch, and attempted to reach her husband in the Gulf of Mexico.
In the meantime, a flurry of cell phone calls began circulating between family and friends. No one was in a great hurry, but all were concerned about the early delivery.
Duncan, a mother herself, received the call at 9:19 p.m. She was not at home but rushed to pick Heather up. They both thought they had plenty of time especially since this was a first child, which is typically a slower birth.
No one expected what happened in the next 40 to 45 minutes in what turned out to be a dramatic trip.
Duncan called ahead to law enforcement agencies to let them know they were coming through in a bit of a hurry. She remained in contact with Heather's mother, who at this time was waiting outside Natchez Community Hospital. Emergency personnel were advised ofthe situation and were expecting her.
As they traveled down the Ferriday-Vidalia Hwy., the frequency and intensity of the contractions increased very rapidly.
"By Dodge Store, they were pretty much constant," said Duncan. "By the Mobil store, I was calling 911."
The 911 dispatcher advised Shelia to pull over in the Pizza Hut parking lot in Vidalia where an ambulance would meet them. She also started giving instructions to prepare for birth.
"I was panicked, I told her I cannot deliver this baby," said Duncan. "I kept telling Heather everything was ok, but it wasn't."
EMT's Tim Vanier and Kenny France with the Vidalia Fire Department responded to the call.
"I thought when I first saw her that we would be delivering in that car," said Vanier.
Heather let them all know that "she was not fixing to deliver her baby in the Pizza Hut parking lot."
"We almost didn't have any choice," said Vanier. "We got a break in the contractions and her breathing settled down a bit and we quickly put her on the stretcher. There was no time to do anything. It was a load and go situation."
Vanier rode in the back of the ambulance with Heather and France took the wheel. They didn't make it far down Carter Street.
"Her son started making his entrance into this world right at the footof the bridge on the Vidalia side," he said.
"It was awesome to watch a new life come into this world — to be the first one to touch a new life. I think I just looked at him in awe a few minutes before I gave him to his mother. I watched him open his eyes, look around and move a little bit" said Vanier. "It was like time stood still for just a moment."
"Then I saw the look on her face when I handed him to her," he continued. "The only word I can come up with is awesome. I just told her 'Mom, congratulations, it's a baby boy,'" said Vanier. "Things slowed down after that."
Albert David Crouch, Jr., arrived a few minutes later to a crowd at Natchez Community Hospital which included staff from labor and delivery, the emergency department and his stunned new family. Duncan pulled in right behind the entourage which was led by Vidalia Police Officer Jamie Lipscomb.
The baby weighed in at four pounds, 2.9 ounces and 16 and 1/2 inches long. The time of birth was officially listed at 10:05 p.m.
On Tuesday, after a day to reflect on the events, Vanier said, "I don't know who was more nervous, me or her. But she really did a wonderful job."
"As for me, at some point the training just kicked in and my partner, Kenny, was giving a lot of moral support from upfront," said Vanier. "We were part of something — good things still happen."
Duncan, a hairdresser by trade, said Tuesday that she has no plans on becoming a midwife. She added that her trip back to Monterey was driven at a calm 50 miles per hours the entire way home. She did make a stop at Wal-Mart to buy preemie diapers and a few outfits.
As for new father, Al, who sat holding his small infant son Tuesday, "That's my boy," he said.
He explained that he received a phone call from Duncan during the midst of the ordeal.
"I was in complete shock, when I answered the phone, I did not even recognize Shelia's voice," said Al. "All I remember her saying was you need to come home now. That was it."
He said he quickly began making preparations for the 45-minute boat ride into Cameron Parish and the four-hour drive to reach his wife.
Just a few moments later he received a message, "There's no need to hurry, it's a boy."
Medical personnel said David is doing just fine, but will remain in the hospital until he is eating better and gains a little weight. From the start, he was breathing on his own and only required a warming light to raise his body temperature
Heather was released from the hospital Tuesday.
"I'm still in shock over how this happened and I try not to think about all the 'what-if's'," Heather said Tuesday. "This was not how I was supposed to do this. But I am so glad he's here now. My sister always told me I was a drama queen."
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