Figuring they were old enough to comprehend the meaning, Maricopa mom Sherese Hicks brought her twin daughters to Maricopa Fire Station 575 on Saturday to have them meet the first responders who helped bring them into the world.
Zoe and Zolee, now 4, were born under extreme circumstances Feb. 27, 2013. Even before going into labor, Hicks knew the girls were not situated properly, and family members were telling her to prepare for a caesarian section delivery.
The girls did not wait around for that.
As Sherese was being driven by her uncle and aunt, it was clear she needed immediate help. The crew of Engine 575 met them at the Circle K at the corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road, where firefighter/paramedic Josh Eads helped Hicks deliver the first twin. To his surprise, the girl came out feet-first.
After eight years on the job, it was Eads’ first baby delivery. His response was, “What is that?”
The baby was not only breech but also had the umbilical cord around her neck. Eads’ training had covered more typical birth scenarios, but he and the crew were able to sort out the situation safely and get Hicks ready for transport to the hospital.
The second baby was born – again feet first – en route to the Chandler Regional Medical Center.
“Typically, with a breech kid, we’re not going to deliver them in the field,” Eads said. “The idea is to give them that supportive care – IVs, fluids, medications if they need it – and then get them to the professional to do it.”
Eads said he was calm walking into the situation, both because of the consistent training the crew gets for emergencies and because of the naivete of never having the experience of delivering a baby. Hicks, who has three older children, was calm for a different reason.
“I wasn’t worried because I knew that it’s all part of God’s plan. I knew that it would be fine,” she said, including the firefighters in her faith. “They had to have been a part of God’s plan. For them not to ever have delivered a breech baby and [Eads] not to ever deliver a baby, it was like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ It had to be.”
At the reunion Saturday, Zoe and Zolee hugged the members of the Engine 575 crew and received child-friendly goodies in return. The team on Engine 575 that night was Eads, Capt. Chris Bolinger, engineer Jimmy Huerta and firefighter Anthony Stimac.
“Any time there’s more than one baby, it’s a high-risk delivery. In this case the babies were born breech,” MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said. “We train for worst-case scenarios, and this was a worst-case scenario … with the best outcome we could possibly imagine.
“Paramedics that responded that day as well as paramedics on the ambulance, the EMTs that assisted – this was a team effort, and everybody performed just like they’re trained to do in responding to such emergencies.”
Bolinger said the crew looks forward to continuing the relationship with the family and watching the girls grow up.