A sergeant with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office delivered a Prairieville woman’s infant boy Saturday night in the middle of Tiger Bend Road after she and her husband realized they would not make it to the hospital in time.
Laura Walsh, 34, and her husband, Sean, were sitting on the couch in their Prairieville home about 9:30 p.m. Saturday when her water broke, Walsh said Wednesday.
The couple jumped in their van, leaving their twin 3-year-old boys with her sister, and sped toward Ochsner Medical Center about 10 p.m. But once they turned onto Tiger Bend Road her contractions abruptly intensified.
“I knew we weren’t going to make it to the hospital,” Walsh said.
The couple spotted two deputies’ cars parked at an apartment complex near the corner of Jones Creek Road and Tiger Bend Road.
“We actually pulled into the middle of the road right in front of Woodlawn Middle School in the striped area,” Walsh said, adding that her husband honked the horn to flag down the deputies.
The deputies parked one unit in front and the other behind the couple’s van, and they got out to help.
Sgt. Shawn Anderson said he and the other two deputies who stopped had just responded to reports nearby of shots fired when they came up on the couple.
Anderson, who had stayed behind at the apartment complex to finish his paperwork, said he rolled up on the parked van and wondered why the two deputies, Tarik Mokdaf and Jeffery Bennett, were parked in front and behind it. When the two saw Anderson, they walked over to him.
“I could tell something was different,” Anderson said. “They had a completely different look on their face.”
When they told Anderson that Walsh had gone into labor, he walked over to the couple and offered to escort them to the hospital, but Walsh said there was no time.
“I walked back to my truck and grabbed my gloves,” Anderson said, adding that the deputies asked him what they were going to do.
“We’re fixin’ to deliver a baby,” Anderson told them.
Walsh sat in the front passenger’s seat, and her husband consoled her from the driver’s seat.
Anderson said he had no formal training in delivering babies. He had only watched his wife give birth to his two children — one now 13 years old and the other 10 years old, he said.
“I paid attention,” Anderson said, but he added there was one moment of hesitation after Walsh bore her son.
“I had the baby in my right hand, and she says, ‘Please don’t let my baby die’ ” Anderson said. “I went mush in the brain.”
Anderson said he called for Emergency Medical Services and the Fire Department and then he turned back to Walsh.
“Your baby’s not going to die,” Anderson told her before he cleared the baby’s airway with his finger and patted its backside.
“It started wailing. I wrapped the baby up and put it on its mother,” Anderson said, after which EMS and the Fire Department showed up to take over.
“Once we stopped the vehicle it was not even five minutes before he was born,” Walsh said.
Declan, due April 1, was born at 10:10 p.m. Saturday, she said.
The family was taken to Ochsner afterward for monitoring, but Walsh said Wednesday both she and the baby are doing well.
“He’s perfect,” she said.
Anderson has worked for the Sheriff’s Office for 17 years, including 12 on the SWAT team, and he served six years in the U.S. Army.
“Saturday night took the cake, though,” Anderson said.
“You put me in an active shooter situation, I’m there. I know exactly what to do,” Anderson said. “Done a lot and seen a lot. Nothing really rattles me that much, but that was totally outside of my element. That right there, that got me. Thank God everything worked out.”
Anderson, Bennett and Mokdaf who responded Saturday night visited the Walshes Wednesday morning to check on the family and give Declan a few goodies, including an Easter basket, a toy duck and a “onesie” embroidered with Declan’s name and “Deputy Sheriff” written across the front.
Anderson received a lifesaving reward in 2009 for saving a woman who was threatening to jump off the U.S. 190 Mississippi River Bridge. He and another deputy went out onto the edge of the bridge to bring the woman to safety, The Advocate reported when Anderson was honored for the act at a ceremony in March 2010.
Anderson’s delivery occurred almost two weeks after a dispatcher for the Baker Police Department on March 8 delivered a baby girl in the department’s parking lot.
Follow Danielle Maddox Kinchen on Twitter, @Dani_Maddox4.