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Dara Olsen grew increasingly nervous early Thursday morning as her contractions grew more frequent.
Olsen hollered for her husband, who’d been sleeping upstairs in their Columbus apartment.
“Within a blink of an eye, (the contractions) were right on top of each other,” said Erik Olsen, who jumped to his wife’s aid. “At that point, we realized we weren’t going to make it to the hospital.”
The Olsens called 911. Within minutes, three Columbus Fire Department firefighters responded to the scene.
They found a 41-year-old woman going into labor, her husband by her side.
Minutes later, firefighters delivered a baby boy.
“This is the fourth (child),” Dara Olsen said. “I have a history of fast labor, but never this fast.”
Caleb Olsen, weighing more than 7 pounds, arrived about one month premature, but his parents say the baby seems to be OK. He spent Thursday receiving oxygen in the Columbus Regional Hospital nursery, while his family rested and recuperated.
“I’m kind of relaxing right now,” Dara Olsen said Thursday evening. “It was a little bit more of an adrenaline rush this morning.”
Dara Olsen felt contractions Wednesday, but they were on and off. When Olsen fell asleep around midnight, they were off. About a half hour later, they were on again.
Olsen got up from bed about 1 a.m. and walked down the stairs of her Quail Run apartment, trying to stay calm.
But things got tense once Olsen’s water broke about 2:15 a.m. She called for her husband, then called 911. Right after, she dialed her father, Ron Bidwell, hoping he’d baby-sit his 2-year-old grandson, who was sleeping upstairs.
Columbus firefighters Scott Bonnell, Matthew Dwyer and Ricky Mullis were first to arrive at the Olsens’ door. Off-duty firefighter Don Richards, who also is a paramedic, came moments later in an ambulance.
Erik Olsen heard a firefighter say, “Wow, I’ve never delivered a baby in all my years.”
Within four minutes of the CFD’s arrival, Caleb Olsen was delivered by Bonnell and Dwyer. Erik Olsen cut the cord, and the firefighters handed the baby to his mother for a sentimental moment.
“They did put the baby on my chest right after they delivered,” Dara Olsen said. “Then they took the baby when they put me up on the gurney and rolled me into the ambulance.”
Caleb Olsen wore an oxygen mask to the hospital, his mother said, and he’s been receiving treatment for underdeveloped lungs since the delivery.
“He’s been getting oxygen all day,” Dara Olsen said Thursday evening. “But he seems to be getting feistier.”
Caleb has three siblings: Isabel, 8; Clara, 6; and Kieran, 2. The Olsens moved to Columbus from Chicago two months ago to be closer to family.
“We decided that four kids living in Chicago was going to be a bit (difficult),” Dara Olsen said.
The Olsens complimented the firefighters, saying they handled the unusual situation with care and calmness.
“The firemen were really wonderful,” Dara Olsen said. “It was a smooth delivery.”
Columbus firefighters are not used to delivering babies, but they are trained to do so. Caleb’s birth marked the department’s first on-the-scene delivery this year.
“We are stepping up our training to be even more prepared for any type of call we may receive,” CFD Chief Dave Allmon said. “The birth of this child Thursday morning shows that although certain types of calls are uncommon, being well prepared can help make our response safe and efficient.”
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