Police officer helps deliver baby in car

FERRISBURGH — On Father’s Day, a nine-months pregnant Heather Ayer realized the time had come.
She, her boyfriend, Anthony Denning, and his mother, Lisa Denning, headed from her Benson home toward Fletcher Allen Healthcare in Burlington, with Lisa Denning behind the wheel.
The car did not make it in time.
Instead, late on June 17 Ayer’s daughter, Kaimara, was born on the side of Route 7 at 6 pounds, 3 ounces and perfectly healthy, according to Vergennes Area Rescue Squad volunteers.
Ayer’s day had begun at Fletcher Allen at about 5 a.m. that morning because she had not been feeling well. Doctors had concluded that she was dehydrated and sent Ayer home five hours later.
Ayer said in an interview that she felt extremely tired all day. She went into town to visit with a friend, but came home around 8 p.m., still feeling exhausted. Ayer was in the bathroom of her home when her water broke and knew she would have to act quickly.
She called her doctor, who said there would not be enough time to get back to the hospital before childbirth.
Instead of calling an ambulance, Ayer and both Bennings started to make the drive to the hospital, speeding 60 to 70 miles an hour and flashing their lights in an attempt to gain attention from police.
Ayer admitted that she was shocked by the situation and said she felt “out of it.”
Unfortunately, before they were able to find an officer and get help, Ayer knew her daughter was well on her way.
“At that point, just getting her out was my main focus,” said Ayer.
According to Vergennes Police Chief George Merkel, Officer Adam O’Neil was the first official to arrive on the Route 7 scene. At 10:45 p.m. O’Neil was issuing a ticket to another driver on West Main Street in Vergennes when he saw Benning speed by. He soon followed, and found the car about 11:15 p.m., where it was pulled over at the side of Route 7 near Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh.
Merkel said O’Neil called VARS, but was told rather than transporting Ayers to the hospital himself, he should wait for EMTs to show up.
But they did not arrive until three minutes after baby Kaimara was born. Former VARS president Steve Fleming was one of the three volunteers onsite and cut the baby’s umbilical cord.
Fleming said the scene was frantic, but it was “it was incredible to see a birth like that.”
Ayers and the VARS team both spoke highly of O’Neil’s handling of the unique situation. Merkel said his actions were “amazing” considering his short time with the force. Merkel added O’Neil has been the subject of some good-natured office ribbing.
“It’s kind of humorous. Adam has been with us for just over a year. Needless to say he has a few new nicknames, like Dr. O’Neil,” said Merkel.
After what was deemed to be a relatively short labor by VARS, Ayer and her daughter were transported to Fletcher Allen, where they spent the night. Late last week, Ayer said both she and her baby were doing well, despite the unplanned and hectic nature of Kaimara’s arrival.
Contact Lauren Davidson at [email protected].

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