Although Tomas Anthony Sanchez won’t remember the day he was born, he will surely be told time and time again about the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his birth.
Tomas’s birth was not only a blessing to his mother, Michelle, and his father, Timmy, but it was a day that his grandfather, John Forman, will never forget. Forman, who is an emergency medical technician with Living Cross Ambulance, helped deliver Tomas early Friday morning.
“I started having contractions around 4:30 in the morning,” Michelle said. “I decided to take a bath to relax, but it didn’t work.”
It was 45 minutes after Michelle’s first contraction started that the expectant parents jumped into their car and drove down the street to Timmy’s parents’ house. Because it was Michelle’s first pregnancy, she thought she had time — time to get to the hospital and time for her doctor to deliver her baby.
Michelle soon realized she was wrong.
When the couple arrived at the house, Timmy banged on the front door — but no one answered. He ran around to the back door and knocked again. Finally, his mother, Julie, awoke to the news that Michelle was in labor.
“I opened the front door and told Timmy to call 911,” Julie said. “I went to the front to check on Michelle, and she said the contractions were about five minutes apart.”
When rescue personnel arrived on scene, they told Michelle she was only about two centimeters dilated and she had plenty of time to get to the hospital.
John Forman wasn’t home when his son and daughter-in-law arrived at his house early Friday morning. He was at work with the local ambulance company when he was dispatched to his own house.
Forman said it wasn’t unusual that he was dispatched to his house because people usually stopped by for help, knowing he’s an emergency medical technician. As Forman and his partner, Patrick Oneal, were driving up the hill to Meadow Lake, Forman’s wife called him on his cell phone.
“She told me Michelle was in labor and that her contractions were about five minutes apart,” Forman said. “I figured we had enough time to transport her to the hospital.”
When Forman and his partner arrived at his house, they put Michelle on their gurney and loaded her in the ambulance. Forman jumped into the driver’s seat while Oneal was in the back with Michelle.
“We moved maybe 10 feet and my partner yelled that she was crowning,” Forman said. “I parked the ambulance, dove out and jumped in the back. My partner had enough time to put on a pair of (latex) gloves and for us to tear the OB kit out and I caught Tomas. It was just that fast.”
As Forman delivered his first grandchild, his son watched with amazement from the front seat of the ambulance. His mother, Julie, was right by his side as he saw his son being born.
“He was really calm, and, as soon as he saw the baby’s arm come up, tears started running down his cheeks,” Julie said. Tim told his mother, “Mama, my buddy’s here. He’s finally here.”
Tomas Anthony Sanchez, who’s been lovingly nicknamed “Bullet,” was born at 5:51 a.m., weighing in at six pounds, four ounces, and measuring 18.5 inches long. Michelle said she was shocked at how quickly her son was born.
“Everyone told me I had time,” she said. “I was excited and happy that it didn’t take that much time.”
Forman has been a member of Meadow Lake Fire and Rescue for the past seven years. Not only did he celebrate the birth of his first grandson on Friday, he celebrated his one-year anniversary working for Living Cross Ambulance.
“I’ve been doing this so long that, at the time of the actual birth, I wasn’t thinking it was Michelle and my grandson,” Forman said. “I just thought I had to do my job, and I’ve got to take care of the baby and mom. It wasn’t until later that it really came to me that I delivered my own grandson. It was an experience I will never forget.”
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.