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“It makes you appreciate things,” Oklahoma firefighters rescue baby after premature birth

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OKLAHOMA CITY - When the call came in, the firefighters at Station 22 knew it would be a challenge.

"It started as mother giving birth on the toilet, so that's always a bad indication," said Cpl. Gilbert Keith, who hopped in the rig and rushed to the scene. "We get there. The toilet seat is down. The mom is laying on the bathroom floor. The baby is between her legs. It's blue, a pretty serious situation."

The mother had just given birth prematurely - about 10 weeks ahead of her due date.

The baby weighed less than a pound.

Firefighters got to work, as EMSA paramedics rushed in behind them.

"I got on the floor with the mom and the baby and cut the cord," said Sgt. Christopher Brady, who had cut the umbilical cords of his three children. "I handed the baby off to EMSA and the other fire department paramedic."

Brady and Capt. Dante Viviani stayed with the woman, who was in shock but in stable condition.

Meanwhile, Keith and Firefighter Brice Williams wrapped the baby to keep it warm and began to administer CPR, riding with the ambulance to the hospital.

EMSA paramedics intubated the little girl.

Chest compressions proved to be a challenge, though, on the baby's tiny body.

The ambulance ride "couldn't have been fast enough," Keith said.

Back at the house, Brady and Viviani treated the woman and followed a second ambulance to the hospital, preoccupied as they thought of the newborn.

"The call on our part went good, but you see a baby not breathing, not crying, not moving, and you worry about it," Brady said. "[The ride] was pretty quiet."

"The best news is after we got to the hospital and found out the baby was doing great," Viviani said. "That's kind of uplifting for us."

For all of the firefighters, helping a premature newborn baby was a brand new experience.

Three of the first responders are fathers who said the experience hits particularly close to home.

"It makes you appreciate things," Viviani said. "With us seeing as much bad stuff as we see in this world - car wrecks and people losing things - to see a brand new life brought in the world is a pretty awesome thing."

The Oklahoma City Fire Department offers infant non-certification CPR classes for free.

Call 405-297-1312 to schedule a class.