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Dads Who Delivered

Dad to the Rescue

Last August, firefighter Tom Gould was on call at the station when his wife, Sarah, phoned to say that she was in labor, with contractions coming strong at seven minutes apart.

He rushed home that night and found his wife in bed, writhing in pain. "I called the doctor and told him we were on the way to the hospital," says Tom, 35. Then he phoned the babysitter down the street — she had promised to watch their 3yearold son, Daniel, who was fast asleep.

Tom was having trouble getting his wife down the stairs alone because she was having such intense contractions. "I really felt like I couldn't move," says Sarah, 32. So Tom, who is also a paramedic, called for backup. Within six minutes, his coworkers at the fire department had arrived in an ambulance. "My wife kept telling me she was ready to push, and I kept saying, 'Don't push! Don't push! Breathe!'" says Tom. "I knew we still had a 25minute ride to the hospital ahead of us."

As they sped through the streets, Tom kept praying for more time. But when they hit the highway ramp 10 minutes later, Tom looked down and saw his daughter's head emerging. I can't believe this is happening, he thought as he grabbed the obstetrics delivery kit. Although he and his colleagues were trained to deliver children, none of them had actually done it before. As one paramedic drove, another coached Sarah, and a third assisted Tom, who was directing his own baby's head from the birth canal, in what had become a mobile delivery room going 70 miles an hour.

Moving quickly, he suctioned his daughter's nose. Next, a tiny arm emerged, and Tom grabbed a teardropsize finger. "I told Sarah, 'Go ahead and deliver her,' and in one big push, Lillian came out." In total, it had taken less than a minute.

After Lillian was cleaned and wrapped in a baby blanket, Tom did what countless doctors, but not many dads, do every day: hand the mother her newborn.

Both Tom and Sarah were in shock. "I kept telling my wife, 'You're so strong. You did such an amazing job,'" says Tom. "She gave birth with no drugs, no nothing." Adds Sarah, "I was so happy and so exhausted. Even though I had given birth before, it felt like an outofbody experience this time. Tom was my saving grace."

When the couple reached the hospital, they were greeted with cheers at the emergency room door. The local press in Cape Cod, MA, was so enamored of the story, there was no need for the Goulds to send out birth announcements.

"I am extremely close to my son," Tom says, "and now my daughter and I also have a real connection. She sleeps on my chest and smiles whenever I see her. It's amazing because I was there the very second she was born. Right away, I was there to take care of her."

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