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Red Wing paramedics help deliver Goodhue woman's child

Jennifer Adler, joined by husband Alex and 3-year-old daughter Hannah, holds baby Zoie, who was delivered last month by a team that included Red Wing firefighters. Mike Longaecker photo

Jennifer Adler figures the ride from rural Goodhue to Rochester took about 30 minutes.

Physically, at least. Mentally, not even close.

"It seemed like it was hours," the Goodhue Township woman said.

Before the ambulance ride was over, she was dealing with a very impatient 6-pound, 1-ounce daughter.

The situation began Dec. 14 after doctors at Rochester Methodist Hospital sent her home.

The 21-year-old thought she was close to giving birth, but she said the doctors there disagreed.

Shortly after returning home, her cervix began dilating quickly, she said.

Adler said she had her mother call for an ambulance after discovering some bleeding. She would later learn that it was her water breaking.

Red Wing paramedics Corey Ahern, Patrick Dutton and Brian Suter responded to the call just before 7 a.m. Ahern said Fairview Red Wing Medical Center staff determined that due to her particular kind of pregnancy, Adler could not give birth there.

"I think we all felt confident that we could make it down to Methodist," Ahern said.

Once they hit the road, things kicked into high gear.

"By the time we hit Goodhue, her head was coming," Adler said.

Ambulance paramedics told her not to push.

"It was kind of impossible" to avoid that, Adler said.

Stress and pain began to wash over her. Adler worried the road conditions - hampered by snow - would lead to trouble for the ambulance or her family, who trailed behind.

"It's kind of nerve wracking," she said.

And then there was the pain.

The ambulance crew administered morphine, but that only spaced her out.

"I still felt every drop of pain," Adler said. "It was horrible."

Adler said the process picked up so quickly during the ambulance ride that Zoie was actually ready to come out before they arrived at Rochester Methodist Hospital.

In fact, Adler said she was forced to hold Zoie in until they arrived.

"Overall, she did pretty well with the pain," Dutton said.

If delivery were to have occurred in the ambulance, the paramedics were prepared. Suter said a birthing kit was "out and ready to go."

The formal delivery process occurred while Adler was still on the ambulance gurney in a hospital hallway.

The Red Wing ambulance crew helped deliver Zoie along with a partial hospital delivery team. The delivery came so suddenly that the full delivery team was still scrambling.

"They said, 'OK, we're going to do it right here,'" Ahern said. "We just sort of had to fill in."

Suter called the experience "a special thing, to help someone through that."

Despite the unusual delivery process, mom and baby came through it happy and healthy.

"After it's done and it's over with, it's better and it's exciting to tell people about it," Adler said.