Christmas miracle: Police save newborn baby
Stephanie Taylor Ferriell, Senior Staff Writer, [email protected]
A baby is a gift at any time of year, perhaps even more so at Christmas. When you have an unexpected delivery with a baby not breathing upon birth but, in the end, it all turns out OK, well, that’s a Christmas miracle.
On Dec. 18, Tasha Quinn of Marengo was alone at her sister’s home, also in Marengo. Thirty-six weeks pregnant, she’d been experiencing irregular contractions throughout the day. Because she wasn’t due for a month, she believed they were Braxton Hicks contractions, false labor pains many women experience late in their pregnancies.
That afternoon, she decided to take a bath, thinking it might make her feel better. Unbeknownst to her, Quinn’s water broke while she was in the tub. As she tried to relax in the warm water, “I felt an uncontrollable urge to push,” she recalled.
She couldn’t get to her phone but knew her mother was due to arrive soon. Quinn planned to have her mom call 911. Suddenly, her baby came out.
“I jumped up and grabbed him out of the tub,” Quinn said.
As she reached for a towel, her phone fell to the floor. She grabbed it and called 911. Her newborn son was gurgling and blue.
Ray Saylor, deputy marshal with the Leavenworth Police Dept. who is assigned as school resource officer at Crawford County Middle School, was just a couple of blocks away at the school when he heard a dispatch regarding a newborn that wasn’t breathing.
“I thought it was a baby that had already been here a few weeks,” he said. “I had no idea it was a freshly-born baby.”
Saylor headed to the area as did Deputy Justin Lutz of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Dept. When Lutz arrived, he found Saylor going door to door, trying to find Quinn, who did not know the exact address of her sister’s home.
Seeing a mobile home with the front door open, they ran to it. Quinn met them at the door.
“I saw the look on her face and thought, ‘Uh oh’,” said Lutz.
The baby, said Saylor, “was blue and had no pulse.”
Saylor did rescue breathing while Lutz performed chest compressions.
Lutz said it seemed like forever until the ambulance arrived, although in reality it was only a few minutes.
Emergency personnel are trained to save lives “but when that day comes, it’s different,” said Lutz. “All you can think is that seconds count when you have a lifeless child.”
The baby vomited, and Saylor cleared his airway, then the baby took his first gasp of air as the two men walked to the ambulance with him. By the time the newborn was inside the ambulance, he had a pulse.
Lutz has been a deputy less than two years and this was his first life-or-death situation. Saylor, who is reitiring as chief marshal of the Milltown Police Dept., is a former EMT who worked on an ambulance in Louisville for many years and as a SWAT medic for the Clark County Sheriff’s Dept. He said he has delivered babies but had not dealt with a situation like this before.
Both Saylor and Lutz have been honored with life-saving awards since the incident.
Saylor said it was very emotional for both him and Lutz, admitting they both shed a few tears and had to take a moment to regain their composure after the baby was in the care of EMS.
Quinn and her baby, which she and her husband, Christopher, named Jaxon, were transported to Harrison County Hospital in Corydon. A short time later, he was “alert and looking around,” she said.
Aside from being a bit small — just 4 pounds, 9 ounces and 17-3/4 inches long — Jaxon’s only health issue was jaundice. He spent five days in the hospital, coming home Monday, Dec. 23, just in time for Christmas.
“He’s a tough little guy; he’s a fighter,” said Quinn.
Reflecting on that day, Lutz said, “It was a good day. I’d say it was a Christmas miracle for her.”
Quinn agrees with that assessment. Jaxon, she said, is a rainbow baby, born after the couple lost a baby to miscarriage in 2017.
“Words cannot explain how thankful I am for them,” she said of Saylor and Lutz, who have been praised by fellow law enforcement officers for their actions. “So much could’ve gone wrong. I will forever be thankful and in debt to them. It’s such a miracle.”