A baby was born in South Portland early Saturday, but it was far from a normal delivery.

The baby boy was delivered by South Portland police Officer Jessica Ramsay, the city’s newest hero, who responded to the call while rescue units were still on their way.

South Portland police Officer Jessica Ramsay, a licensed emergency medical technician, delivered a healthy baby boy Saturday morning. South Portland Police Department Facebook photo

Ramsay, who has experience as an advanced EMT, heard 911 calls around 1:15 a.m. The fire department requested a rescue unit “multiple times” to respond to a home for “an imminent birth,” she recalled on Sunday. Ramsay realized a woman was in labor and needed help.

Ramsey’s beat is near the Maine Mall. The rescue unit was in the Mill Creek area, on the other side of the city, and would therefore take some time to arrive on the scene. “I thought I’d go over and check on her to make sure she’s OK,” Ramsey said.

When she got to the home on Westbrook Street, the mother was in active labor.

“I asked her, ‘How far apart are your contractions?’ She said three minutes.”

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Ramsay quickly noticed the contractions were coming faster than that.

“I stood there with her, rubbed her back, getting her to breathe.”

With the contractions intensifying, Ramsay asked if she could check the woman to see if the baby’s head was crowning. “She was standing at the time. I saw her tighten up. She said, ‘It’s coming.’ I saw the head coming out. I guided the head out. I caught a little baby boy.”

With her medical training, she knew what to look for to ensure the baby was safe. “There was no umbilical cord around his neck. I cleared out his mouth and nose. I stood there and made sure he was breathing. I flicked his feet.” Out came a healthy cry.

“I told the mother, ‘You have a baby boy! He’s beautiful!”

The birth happened fast: 4 minutes and 40 seconds after Ramsay got there.

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When the paramedics arrived, Ramsay was holding the baby. They took over. The baby and mother were transported to an area hospital. Police did not identify the woman.

Before serving as a South Portland police officer, Ramsay worked as an EMT in Old Orchard Beach for 15 years. “But I never had a delivery,” she said Sunday. “I was really excited for the mom; I was overjoyed at her becoming a mom again. A lot of things in police work aren’t joyous. We’re doing our job.”

Herself the mother of two, Ramsay understands what it means for a family to bring a new life into the world. “For me it was an emotional experience, being able to do something that’s a positive.”

When her shift ended, she went back to the station, cleaned up and went home, smiling.

Ramsay’s colleagues in the police department – and many in the community – were delighted by the news.

The South Portland Police Department Facebook’s page lit up with praise, celebration and compliments for a delivery well done.

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“Give her a stork decal for her briefcase,” one Facebook commenter wrote.

“Way to go Officer Ramsay!” wrote another.

Lt. Ben Macisso said members of the police department are proud.

“It’s not often that we have an opportunity to affect people’s lives in such a positive way,” he said Sunday.

Macisso, the father of three,  said when he heard what Ramsay had done, it brought forth a lot of emotion in him. “The birth of a child is a special moment,” he added.

“The fact she was able to do this, with her training as an EMT and police officer, everyone is very happy,” he said. “This is our first baby that I can remember.”

But apparently it was the department’s second baby in recent memory.

A South Portland woman wrote on the Facebook page that her youngest was delivered, at home, in 1999 by Officer Michael Matheson. “Sometimes babies come very quickly,” she said.


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