Whiting Elementary serves as ad-hoc delivery room
WHITING — Whiting Elementary School’s ordinary morning routine was disrupted by an extraordinary visit on Friday, when a baby was delivered in one of the school’s classrooms.
Tim and Corey Smith of Castleton were hurrying up Route 30 to Middlebury’s Porter Hospital mid-morning Friday when circumstances forced them to make a sudden change in their plans.
“They were on their way to the hospital, but the baby wasn’t waiting,” said Lacy Smith, Tim Smith’s cousin and a teacher at Whiting Elementary. Realizing they would be unable to reach a hospital in time, and hoping for help from a nurse and support from a family member, the couple pulled off at the school in Whiting village.
“The father came in asking if we had a nurse on duty,” said Susanne Denis, an administrative assistant at the school. “We don’t.”
Fortunately, Tim Smith had also called emergency services, and the Whiting First Response team arrived in short order.
The emergency personnel asked if the school had a warm room, and staff showed them to a classroom.
“It was my room, actually,” said teacher Lacy Smith. That is to say, it was the main classroom in a school of only about 30 students. A group of students from multiple grades was marshaled out of the classroom and the space prepared for its new function as delivery room.
Corey Smith’s son was born in the classroom before in the midmorning. The location was unexpected but, in a way, appropriate: Corey Smith herself is a second-grade teacher in Fair Haven.
Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association personnel arrived not long after the Whiting group to transfer the mother and her new son to Porter Hospital.
After the family left, Whiting Elementary returned to its usual routine. Although this was the school’s first experience with a medical emergency, everything went smoothly.
“It was just 20 to 25 minutes,” Lacy Smith said matter-of-factly.
Her students seemed to be taking things in stride as well. Teachers kept the children out of the emergency teams’ way, but made no effort to hide what was happening.
“We told them (about the baby),” Smith said. “They were curious, you know, about why they were being moved to another classroom.”
But no difficult explanations were required.
“They knew what was going on. They all had siblings,” Smith explained. “They’re fine. They’re doing work right now.” Back to an ordinary day.