BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ — Angela and Paul Windt and big sister Alexa (5 1/2 years old) welcomed baby Ava at their Berkeley Heights' home Friday night — not as planned.

Angela, who works as a pharmaceutical consultant, was 38 weeks pregnant with her second baby when her water broke and the contractions came two to three minutes apart. She knew she wasn't going to make it to the hospital to deliver her daughter.

Thanks to the quick response of the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad and three Berkeley Heights police officers, there were no complications with the home delivery and both mom and baby are doing great.

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Angela was sent home from the hospital Thursday evening after she felt contractions that were coming four to five minutes apart and then stopped. After her follow-up doctor's visit on Friday (complete with ultrasound), she knew to watch for steady and rhythmic contractions for an hour before making that next trip to the hospital. Her first born was a week late and induced, so mom thought she had some time.

When the contractions began again around 6:30 Friday evening, Angela thought she still had plenty of time because the contractions weren't steady — painful, but she only had a few and they stopped. By 8:30 p.m., the contractions were coming four to five minutes apart for 15 minutes. After the false alarm Thursday evening, she was hesitant to make another hospital call.

"I wasn't going to do another fire drill, that's embarrassing," Angela said.

However, within 15 minutes, the contractions progressed to every two to three minutes and she knew it was time to make arrangements for their 5 1/2 year old daughter and get to the hospital. Although, since her water had not broken yet, there was still time, right?

Her "calm, cool and collected" husband, Paul, thought he would shower before heading to the hospital for the birth of his second daughter. Baby Ava had a different plan. Angela's water broke and she was too far along to make it to the hospital — and Paul was minutes from delivering the baby himself.

The 9-1-1 call was made and within five minutes the Berkeley Heights Volunteer Rescue Squad was in the house assessing the situation. The baby wasn't crowning, but Angela knew that the baby was coming and transport to the hospital was not an option.

The delivery was quick and Angela didn't have time to process the fact that she was about to deliver at home without an epidural.

"I was a little panicked because I had wanted an epidural," she laughed. "I realized this was happening without one."

Within 20 to 30 minutes after her water broke, Ava was born at 9:42 p.m., weighing 6 pounds 10 ounces and 20 inches long.

Mom and baby were in the hands of certified EMTs and crew: Joe Plocinski, Andy Damato, Nicole Segalini and Chief Sam Lloyd; as well as Police Officers Sgt Gallaro, Ptl Horan and Ptl Marshall, who assisted the crew.
 
"We were all very much involved in the delivery of the baby," said BHVRS Chief Sam Lloyd. "It truly was a team effort for the crew. As you can imagine with a delivery that is this sudden, it takes a crew to work together as a team and we all took different roles to ensure both baby and mother were safe and healthy."
 
Segalini, a senior at Gov. Livingston High School, was the youngest EMT crew member that night. She was responsible for "catching" the emerging baby with the crew right there coaching and guiding her through the process.
 
"Delivering a baby was the most amazing thing I've ever experienced," said Segalini. "It truly was incredible and something I will never forget. I'm thankful that the delivery was a success and both the mom and the baby are healthy." 
 
"She was very professional in the way she helped bring the baby into the world," said Lloyd. "I'm sure the happy memory will stay with her [Segalini] for a very long time, as it will for us all."
 
They crew clamped and cut the umbilical cord. After the delivery, the crew transported mom and baby to Overlook Hospital where their staff took over and assessed both mom and baby.
 
As certified EMTs, they are all trained in delivering babies, in addition, the BHVRS recently held a Continued Education (CEU) refresher course for their members on childbirth. Each BHVRS ambulance is kitted out with two sterile obstetrical kits in the event of a baby being delivered on a call. "The kits have all the equipment we need for a sterile delivery on scene," said Lloyd.
 
Each year, the BHVRS are out on over 800 EMS calls, mainly medical and trauma.
 
"Many EMTs will admit the delivery of a baby is something in our profession we would take joy in experiencing," said Lloyd. "However, with Berkeley Heights being so close to a hospital, it is very unlikely this type of call will happen for us. I am told it has been over 20 years since the BHVRS has delivered a baby."
 
"We are delighted to have been there for mother and baby that evening and with it being the BHVRS 75th Anniversary this year, what better way to celebrate than with kicking off the start of the year with the celebration and birth of a beautiful baby," he added.
 
Thankfully, the delivery was easy and without complications and "the BHVRS are overjoyed that both mum and baby are doing well," said Lloyd. 
 
Mom, dad and big sister Alexa are thankful as well.