EVERETT — Kirsten Clark has a special appreciation for Everett firefighters.
They are the ones who brought her into the world on her mother’s couch in the fall of 1989.
They were there again to deliver her son, Alexander, on the floor of her mom’s home May 5, 2010.
In both instances, fast labors trumped best-laid plans. These babies weren’t going to wait for an ambulance ride to the hospital.
Clark and her now 1-year-old boy paid a visit to Everett Fire Station No. 5 at Madison Street and Beverly Boulevard last week to meet the crew that was by her side in her moment of need.
“You just want to say thank you,” Clark said of the firefighters.
Clark was alone when the time came. The baby wasn’t due for at least three days. She remembers calling 911 around 10:20 a.m. She delivered her son — all 8 pounds 6 ounces — about 20 minutes later.
Thankfully, she said, she was just a few blocks from the fire station and crews arrived within minutes.
Last Friday, she stopped by the station with a camera. She now has plenty of pictures of Alexander among the firefighters. When she was a baby, her mother also made a trip to say thank you and get photos.
For the crew at the station, it was a heart-warming sequel to a successful call.
Firefighter Rich West and paramedic Brian Ash remember the day well.
West arrived first with Engine 5 Capt. Mike Cyrus and driver Gordon Mosteller.
Kirsten Clark was on the bathroom floor. The baby’s head of dark hair was crowning.
West quickly realized: “There was no time to transport.”
He prepared for the delivery, an event he has practiced many times before.
Three minutes later, Ash and fellow paramedic Tony Patricelli joined in.
“I was looking forward to it,” West said. “But when they arrive, you step aside and let more experienced guys take over.”
Ash lifted the umbilical cord that was wrapped around Alexander’s neck.
Ash has delivered six babies during his career as a paramedic.
“It is one of the greatest things we get to do, bringing a life into the world,” he said. “We are just there to assist mom. She is the real hero.”
Many paramedics who have been in the profession for a few years have taken part in delivering babies, members of the Fire Station 5 crew said.
Last year in Everett, the fire department responded to 89 emergency transport calls for childbirth. In two instances, they delivered babies.
They come equipped for early arrivals, down to the suction ball used to clean the mouth and nasal passages, a scalpel for cutting the cord, and a blanket to keep the baby warm.
Laurie Clark was at the dentist the morning her daughter gave birth to her grandson.
She was in for a surprise when she returned.
“When I came back, there were flashing lights out front,” she said. “It scared me to death. I felt so bad I wasn’t there.”
In hindsight, she realized she had little to worry about. She knew from firsthand experience that her daughter and grandson were in the firefighters’ capable hands.
“They definitely know what they are doing,” she said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, email@example.com