Cop delivers his own baby in parking lot

’Can you make sure the emergency room is ready because this baby is coming in hot,' James Nachampassack said to the emergency room

By Chris Green
Rockford Register Star 

ROCKFORD, Ill. — The initial year or two for any police officer is full of firsts: being on patrol for the first time without a field training officer, making your first arrest, testifying in court, delivering your first baby.

Yup. The last was the case early Sunday for Rockford police officer James Nachampassack.

The one-year veteran, assigned to the police department's squadrol, or transport van, spent much of his night and early morning transporting arrested individuals to the Winnebago County Jail. What had all the makings of another routine shift changed about 5 a.m. when he got a call from his girlfriend, Phenh Thammavong.

"She said nonchalantly, 'I think I'm going to give birth today.'"

Nachampassack informed his sergeant who picked him up at the jail and drove him to the District 3 New Towne Drive headquarters to pick up his personal vehicle. Nachampassack said he drove home quickly and before he could open the door, he heard Thammavong screaming.

"I thought I was going to walk in and see a baby dangling by the umbilical cord," he said. "Thankfully, it wasn't like that. She was just kind of hanging out at the table, and I said, 'Are you okay?' And I saw the water underneath her, and she said, 'I think I'm going into labor right now.'"

Nachampassack loaded up his girlfriend and her belongings into his car and while en route to the hospital, he called dispatch on his cellphone. "I said, 'Can you make sure the emergency room is ready because this baby is coming in hot. We're going to pop right when we get there.''

Nachampassack said it is about a 20-minute drive from their home to SwedishAmerican Hospital. They didn't quite make it.

"We're heading down Alpine, and we finally hit East State Street, and she looks over at me and says, 'This is happening now.'

Still in uniform and in possession of his police radio, Nachampassack informed dispatch his girlfriend was giving birth and requested an ambulance be sent to the parking lot of the Alpine Inn.

Nachampassack parked the car and ran over to the passenger side. "I put my hands out to catch him and as soon as I did that, she did all the work, and pushed him right on out."

Holding a baby still attached to the umbilical cord Nachampassack said, "The first thing that popped into my head was skin-to-skin. Keep the baby warm. I'm still in uniform, so there's really not too much skin exposed. So I put him up to my face."

Shortly thereafter, Nachampassack heard sirens approaching.

"I'm like, 'Thank God. The EMTs, fire is here."


Nachampassack said, "It's five or six police cars. It's everybody I work with. I mean I was happy they were there, but I was really hoping for the EMTs. They were great though. They just kind of walked me through everything. Told me I was doing good. They were like, 'What can we do for you?'"

The officers retrieved some blankets from Thammavong's bag that she had prepared, and Nachampassack wrapped the baby in them.

What seemed like an eternity was a only a matter of minutes before the ambulance arrived.

Thammavong, according to Nachampassack's dashboard clock, gave birth at 5:42 a.m. to a healthy 7-pound, 12-ounce boy, whom they named, Leo.

He was born two weeks before his Sept. 17 due date. Mother and baby are expected to be released today from the hospital.

Although this was the couple's second child together — they also have a 2-year-old son named, Wyatt — Thammavong said, "I don't think anything could have prepared me for this."

Nachampassack, who is also an Army reservist, said neither police officers nor soldiers are trained to deliver babies. But they are trained to perform under pressure no matter the task, he said.

"I stayed as calm as I could, but I don't ever want to listen to the dispatch (recording) because I'm sure I was a wreck."

Copyright 2017 Rockford Register Star 


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