CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – You could call it a belated Christmas present or maybe even a New Year’s Eve gift.
Either way, one Citrus County woman got not one, but two surprises that she will no doubt, never forget.
The unidentified mother had twins on Thursday. The twins were not due to be born until March 15th. Both weighed in at less than 3 pounds.
It began with a frantic 911 call.
With the mother screaming in the background, a woman reassures her, “They’re coming. They’re coming.” The 911 operator continues to keep the caller calm and ask questions. “Are you seeing any part of the baby?” he asks.
Three minutes later, firefighters arrived on scene.
“It just happened so fast,” one said.
They made that very special delivery just after midnight.
“So I saw the head and yelled to my partner, the baby’s coming,” said Lt. Keith Rigalo.
News Channel 8 asked his partner when was the last time he yelled that a baby was coming. “That was the first time,” responded firefighter John Raymond.
Raymond delivered the little girl.
“She was very quiet,” Lt. Rigalo said remembering that moment. “She sat in my lap.”
Three minutes after the delivery, an EMT and paramedic arrived.
“A few minutes later, baby number two,” one first responder said. It was a fussy little boy.
“That’s boys,” said Lt. Rigalo. “That’s to be expected.”
The boys’ crying allowing everyone to take a breath.
“Immediately it was a sigh of relief, because you knew everybody was O.K,” said Lt. Rigalo.
But the concern at that point? The babies were preemies and not due until March 15th.
“That kind of ups your, heightens your senses a little bit,” one first responder said as another was quick to point out, “adds that sense of urgency.”
And when they finally arrived at the hospital?
“That’s when you can stop and take a breath and say, ‘Hey, that was cool,’ ” said EMT Carlos Santos.
These special deliveries are a reminder to these men.
“Makes you realize why you got into this job,” says one. And, most of them are veterans at their jobs.
“I’ve been doing this for the county for 23 years and this is my first childbirth,” said Lt. Rigalo.
They say they love what they do.
“It’s just that feeling that you’re doing, you’re seeing the miracle of birth happening,” said one.
Another day at the office for these guys?
“Kinda sort of but not,” said one.
And now it’s time to move on to the next job. It’s what they do.
But for this one job in particular, “Everything worked out perfect,” said firefighter Raymond. “It couldn’t have gone any better.” Adding, “It was, it was a great way to end the year.”
At last check, the mother and her two babies are doing fine at Munroe Regional Medical Center in Ocala.
Citrus County receives about 25,000 911 calls each year. Officials say 41 of those calls are pregnancy related. Out of those 41 calls, five are for babies who are born on the way to the hospital.
One other baby was also born on the way to the hospital within the last 24 hours.