Glenville residents Luis and Megan Cruz rarely watch TV news, but they did Friday evening.
One of the stories they saw struck a chord with the expectant couple. It was the story of another Glenville couple, also expecting a baby, who couldn’t make it to the hospital in time for the birth.
That couple, Justin and Jessica Rapp, ended up delivering their baby Friday afternoon in their car on the side of the road with the help of Glenville police dispatchers and an officer.
“Wow, that’s incredible,” Megan Cruz recalled of her reaction to the story.
Hours later, the Cruzes were themselves on the phone with Glenville police dispatchers, with Megan in labor. They never made it out of their house.
Within minutes, baby Abigail Cruz had arrived.
Between Friday afternoon and early Saturday morning, Glenville police dispatchers helped deliver two babies by instructing the shocked parents through the steps of childbirth.
By Monday, both couples were back home with their healthy newborns, marveling at their similar experiences.
“It’s surprising,” father Justin Rapp, 32, a loss prevention officer with Lowe’s, said Monday. He was at home with wife Jessica, newborn daughter Jadley and the couple’s four other children. “You don’t hear about that too often.”
Both sets of parents also wished to thank the dispatchers and everyone else involved in helping with the deliveries.
The stories of the two Glenville deliveries played out little more than 12 hours apart.
For the Rapps, it began at around 2 p.m. Friday. Justin arrived home and the couple was off to the hospital in their car. But things were progressing faster than either of them expected.
“As soon as we leave the driveway, I thought, this is just going way too fast,” the stay-at-home mom and cheerleading coach Jessica Rapp, 30, said. “I kept saying, ‘Hurry, hurry, get there.’ ”
When they got to Maple Avenue, just north of the roundabout, that was as “there” as they were going to get, at least without Jadley.
“Pull over, pull over now,” Jessica recalled instructing her husband. “Call 911.”
The Cruzes’ joyous occasion began just after 3 a.m. Megan Cruz woke up having to use the bathroom. Minutes later, she woke her husband. Abigail was coming, and she was coming fast.
“She’s coming now!” Megan, 27, a general manager with Gabriel’s Supermarket, recalled yelling to husband, Luis.
There was no time to even get into their car. Luis called 911.
The next few minutes of each story involve calm instructions from Glenville dispatchers, telling each father what to do.
For the Rapps, it was dispatcher Laurie Fredricks. For the Cruzes, it was JoAnne McPhail.
Each father put their phones on speaker.
While Maple Avenue traffic passed by, Jessica Rapp got in the back seat of their car. Her husband, on instructions from dispatcher Fredricks, pulled a towel from the trunk.
Fredricks walked Justin through the process. All the while, Fredricks relayed information about the mother to her fellow dispatchers, Brian Pomeroy and David Gallup, who coordinated the police and paramedic responses.
“It seemed like an eternity,” Justin Rapp said. “But it was only a few minutes.”
Nearby was Glenville police Lt. Rick Conley, who was dispatched to the scene. He arrived as Jadley only had a little more to go.
Conley announced the birth on the police radio, letting Fredricks know Jadley had arrived. Jadley, though, weighing in at 7 pounds, 13.5 ounces, quickly announced her presence herself. Fredricks could hear the baby’s cries over the open speakerphone line.
It was 2:42 p.m. Friday.
Fredricks said Monday that she helped deliver another baby by phone about eight years ago.
“It’s definitely not something you do every day.”
Twelve hours later it was McPhail’s turn, with the Cruzes.
Like the Rapps, the Cruzes had been through childbirth before. Five years ago they had son Dylan. Also like the Rapps, their previous experience was of a normal, longer labor.
For the Cruzes, there was no passing traffic, but there was a curious Dylan. Father Luis, 30, a bus driver with CDTA, kept Dylan busy with an impromptu scavenger hunt to find a Ninja Turtle in his room. That would take Dylan a while, Dad knew, because he knew they were elsewhere in the house.
As was the case with the Rapps, the dispatcher stepped Luis through the birth.
Then Abigail arrived. On McPhail’s instructions, Dad tied off the umbilical cord.
There was a brief worry on the dispatcher’s part, the Cruzes recalled, over whether Abigail was breathing. The phone cut out as Luis confirmed Abigail was OK.
“She was making little noises, so we knew she was fine,” Megan Cruz said. “She didn’t really make a big cry until the EMTs and everybody got here.”
At 3:25 a.m. Saturday, Abigail Cruz had arrived. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 11 ounces.
At the Rapps’ home on Monday, their other children, Jacob, 9, Julia, 5, Jordyn, 3, and Jace, 2, played around the house as their parents spoke of the events of recent days.
Little Jadley slept quietly through it all.
“You kind of have a plan of how you want it to go,” Justin Rapp said. “But not everything falls into place all the time.”