The events of the early morning of Jan. 9 were quite out of the ordinary for one local woman and the Thomaston EMS crew.

After an appointment at her doctor's office, Amanda Denman was sent home, as she was not actively in labor. Just two hours later, she found herself in the company of Thomaston EMTs Lina Wallace, Chris Winters and Chief Rusty Barnard.

And within 8 minutes, her second daughter, Althea Rose, was born in the town's new ambulance — something that hadn't happened in more than 20 years, according to Barnard.

"This is something I’ve always wanted to experience," Wallace said, who has just under four years of EMS experience and has given birth to five children of her own.

"And it just so happened to be my very first call coming back from my own maternity leave," she said.

Having gestational diabetes this pregnancy, Denman was being closely monitored, and although her due date wasn't until Jan. 15, she was scheduled to be induced sometime during the week of Jan. 8.

Denman said once the EMTs arrived, something unexpected happened — she pushed, and out came the baby.

"I didn’t know what it was at the time, until Lina said, 'It’s your baby!'" she said.

Wallace said once she arrived on the scene, she took time to assess Denman's condition until Barnard arrived.

"We assisted the mom onto our cot in a position of comfort for her, and loaded her into the ambulance," she said, adding that almost immediately Denman yelled, "Something just came out!"

"Rusty and I looked at each other, and then I immediately climbed in to take a look," she said. "I really was not expecting it at all, and shocked, I yelled to Rusty, 'It's a baby! A baby came out!'"

Wallace said she then checked around the baby's head for any cord presentation, and finding none, told Denman "OK, Mama, her head is out. Next contraction, give me a nice, big push."

She did, and Althea was born. The EMTs suctioned the baby and immediately placed her on the mother's chest before heading to the hospital.

"I can say, without a single doubt, this was the most amazing experience of my life — aside from the births of my own children," Wallace said. "It was very rewarding, and definitely not something we get to do every day. You just never know what to expect."

It was Winters' first time driving the 3-week-old ambulance, and said he took it slowly with the snow-covered roads.

Once at Denman's apartment, things moved rather quickly.

"Within seconds of disposing my gloves and closing the rear doors of the bus, Lina yells out, 'Oh my, that's a head!'" Winters said.

He said Barnard was at an external side compartment and did not hear what Wallace had said, but without hesitation, he hopped in the side door and told Winters to get in the back to help as well.

"I lunged over the front seat to retrieve new gloves, and moments later we were delivering this healthy, crying little girl," Winters said.

He said he happily notified dispatch, saying, "Thomaston Ambulance en route to Pen Bay. Then I started to second-guess what I was supposed to tell dispatch. An ambulance crew delivering a baby happens so infrequently that a volunteer as myself has low odds of it happening in a lifetime of driving," Winters said.

The ambulance was met by a grinning line up of staff at the ER door.

Happy with the condition of the patients, the EMTs began taking their charges down the halls of Pen Bay to the OB unit.

"The midwife remarked on our familiarity with the route," Winters said. "We've all been here in the last nine months for our own families."

Barnard recalled that everything after the baby's birth went like clockwork.

"All too often, we see people at their worst moments, and have seen many take their last breath," he said.

"But that day we got to see one take their first, and watch a life begin," Barnard said. "Childbirth is something I think everyone should see at least once in their lifetime. It just seems to make other things going on around you disappear, even if just for a brief moment."

"The crew did a great job, and I couldn't be more proud. Mom was a trouper who did all the work; we just assisted in providing a safe environment for things to happen," he said.

Althea's big sister, Liana Skye, will be 3 in March.

"If they hadn’t showed up when they did, I don’t know how things would have turned out," Denman said.

"A lot happened in that 24 hours, but it all led up to an eventful birth," she said.

Courier Publications reporter Beth A. Birmingham can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or via email at bbirmingham@villagesoup.com.