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Crews prove mettle as mother gives birth at home

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (AFPN) -- As the Anaheim Angels and San Francisco Giants battled during the third game of the World Series recently, an Eglin couple brought their own little angel into the world -- in the hallway of their on-base home.

While Staff Sgt. Jim and Crystal Taylor were watching the game, Riley Dale, 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 20.25 inches long, decided she was ready to play. The excitement started around 8 p.m. when Crystal's water broke.

"I called the hospital, and they told me to go ahead and come on in," Jim said.

He hurriedly got their two children, Chase, 7, and Ty, 5, ready and called their friend and neighbor, Felicia Douville, to pick up the children.

"He told me, 'It was time,'" Douville said.

By the time Douville arrived at the Taylor's home, there was a lot of going on. As Jim packed the car, Crystal was screaming his name from the bathroom.

Douville said she made her way into the bathroom first. By the look on Crystal's face, Douville said you could tell Crystal and the baby were not wasting any time.

Douville proceeded to dial 911 and gave them all the information they needed.

"They were so calm on the phone and knew all the right questions to ask," Douville said.

By this time, Jim talked Crystal into coming out of the bathroom and into the small hallway where he made her an area to lie down.

"The baby began crowning! I could see the top of her head and I held her head in my hands," Jim said. "I could hear the sirens and was just praying that I wouldn't have to do this alone."

Fire department and hospital ambulance crews arrived within three minutes, Douville said.

"We were familiar with the location, so we were very quick to leave the station," said Peter Welch, a 96th Civil Engineer Group firefighter. "Engine 98 arrived first, with the ambulance and our battalion chief right behind us."

Senior Airman Jevari Brown, a 96th Medical Operations Squadron emergency medical technician, was the first one in the hallway, according to Jim.

"He calmed her down and knew exactly what he needed to do," Jim said.

As Brown assessed Crystal's condition, the rest of the emergency crew prepared the area with sterile material and readied the obstetrics kit," said Mathew Smith, a 96th Civil Engineer Squadron firefighter.

Supporting the baby's head as it entered this world, Brown and crew suctioned the baby's mouth and nose, repeating those steps several times before the baby was entirely out. Within a minute or two of their arrival, and one more push, Crystal delivered her baby girl at 8:47 p.m.

"My main concern was the baby's airway," Welch said. "I started to rub the baby's feet and back to see if I got any reaction. Finally, the cry that I was waiting for filled the entire house with joy. The baby was doing very well."

After a few minutes, Riley was handed to her parents and Crystal was moved to a cot for transport to the base emergency room, Smith said. As the transfer took place from the house to the ambulance, the neighbors gave a round of applause in the front yard for the new family member.

"It was a remarkable moment and such an adrenaline high," Smith said.

Douville said she was surprised how well the whole thing went within such a short period of time.

"You wouldn't have known we weren't in a hospital," Douville said.

"He (Brown) was awesome," Crystal said. "He kept me calm and made sure everyone was doing their job. I was determined not to have the baby in this house; however, when they showed up, it was OK."

All the fire department and hospital ambulance crew members said this was a career defining moment for them. Jim agreed.

"It makes all of the exercises they go through more real," Jim explained.

So, as the Anaheim Angels added another victory to their list, Jim and Crystal shared a victory of their own, a memory for years to come. (Courtesy of Air Force Material Command News Service)

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