Summing it up as the “best feeling ever,” Fanwood Police Officers Kathy Case and Kevin Stomber still have excitement in their voices days later as they recount their parts in delivering the baby daughter of Michaela Nicholas of Westfield Road Saturday, August 22.
After a run of two decades without a birth in the borough, this is the second time in two years that members of the Fanwood department have delivered babies.
Because of the nature of the dispatch, both Case and Stomber responded to the 9-1-1 call for help and Stomber arrived first, finding Nicholas upstairs in a bathroom. As he helped her to the floor, Case arrived. Within a few minutes, the baby was on the way and, according to Case, “Instincts took over.” Case said she kept thinking over and over, “We didn’t want to drop the baby!”
Neither officer had faced this kind of situation before in the line of duty.
Stomber, a member of the Fanwood department since 2002, is the father of two and had previous training as an EMT. That gave him some direction. Case, who joined the Fanwood force earlier this year, and Stomber worked well together in the stressful situation, clearing the baby’s throat and nostrils, stimulating breathing and tending to the umbilical cord which was wrapped around the baby’s neck.
As both officers worked on the child, the family was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator, relaying instructions. Case and Stomber said that was a great help, because it reinforced the things they were doing.
When the baby let out its first good cry, both officers said they knew that things were on the right track. “It was the happiest and scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Stomber said.
About then, the Westfield Rescue Squad, responding on mutual aid for the Fanwood squad, arrived and mom and the baby were soon on their way to Overlook Hospital, where both stayed for a few days for observation.
Both Case and Stomber are looking forward to visiting Nicholas and the baby next week.
Looking back this week, Chief Richard Trigo said he was “extremely proud” of Case and Stomber. “Both officers represented the department well,” he said, adding, “I wouldn’t have expected anything less.”