Suffolk County Second Precinct Police Officer Michael Fitterer was just three minutes away when he heard a call reporting that a 30-year-old Commack woman was in labor. It was 2:30 a.m.
The nearest officer, Fitterer said he knew he would be the one to respond, and he knew what would come next.
When he arrived at the Grace Park Avenue home, he found the woman mid-labor in the tub. The baby’s head was already out, and the husband was supporting it.
The couple had been sent home from the hospital earlier; they were told that it was too early, and they had more time. But the baby had other plans.
Luckily, Fitterer knew what he had to do.
“It wasn’t the first baby I’ve delivered,” Fitterer said with a laugh. “I’ve done this six times, six times in 29 years.” He added that each time had been a “straight delivery,” meaning that the babies were not breeched or otherwise compromised at birth.
Fitterer said police officers are trained to deliver babies. He estimated that “anybody with 10 years on the job has delivered at least one.”
The officer downplayed his role in the Feb. 9 delivery, saying that the most important thing to do was make sure the baby was turned the right way so the shoulders come out clear.
“Once the shoulders are out, it’s easy,” he said. “After that, all I really do is clear her nose and mouth so that the air could come in, and give the exact time of birth.”
According to Fitterer, the real hero of this story is the baby’s father.
“Dad did a super job with absolutely no training,” the officer said. “He supported the head; he was rock solid the whole time.”
The mother and her healthy baby girl were brought to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown.