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home : news : news Sunday, May 29, 2016

10/3/2012 Email this articlePrint this article 
Feeling extra blessed are Hailey Kitchen and her boyfriend, Ray Mickelson, who have two children — 2-year-old Sofia and 3-week-old John James. Having to deliver John in the bedroom of their DeWitt home with the help of Clinton County 911 telecommunicator Marcia DeBoer has earned the couple lots of media attention. Hailey and Ray say while they predicted John’s birth going much differently, they are happy he is healthy. They also appreciate having a recording of the entire 911 call, provided to them on a CD by the dispatch center. Photo by Kate Howes
Birth becomes a miraculous event for DeWitt family

By Kate Howes
Staff writer

Her mother told her to enjoy her "15 minutes of fame," but Hailey Kitchen didn't really aspire to forever be known as the woman who unexpectedly delivered her newborn son in the bedroom of her DeWitt home.

Yet, since his birth Thursday, Sept. 13, Hailey's son John James Mickelson and the series of events which led to the unconventional nature of his arrival into the world have been making headlines.

John is the second child Hailey shares with her long-time boyfriend, Ray Mickelson. John has an older sister, 2-year-old Sofia, whose birth went quickly, smoothly and - as many parents-to-be expect - in a hospital.

John, however, was born in the very place he now calls home and no one is more shocked by the story of how he came into the world than his own family.

The day John was born, Hailey began having contractions in the morning. Around noon, she went to see her obstetrician/gynecologist in Davenport.

After being sent home and told to put up her feet and relax until the contractions were closer together, Hailey, together with Ray and her mom, Becky, followed doctor's orders and returned to DeWitt.

Later, as her labor seemed to be progressing, Hailey and her family headed to a hospital in Davenport where she was checked for dilation and hooked up to a monitor. Once again, however, she was told she "wasn't ready," and sent home.

Because they already had made two trips to the Quad Cities that day and were hoping to avoid having to make a third, Becky says they asked a nurse what they should do.

The nurse suggested they stay in Davenport - get a bite to eat, take a walk or do whatever they could to bide their time until Hailey's contractions got stronger and closer together.

So, that's exactly what they did, until it became later and it didn't feel as though Hailey's labor had advanced any further. Once they returned home, Hailey laid in bed with Sofia and the two of them watched a movie before Sofia went to bed for the night.

Hailey decided to take a warm bath, hoping it might help move the labor process along.

However, she never expected it would be so effective.

Before she knew it, Hailey's water broke and - ready or not - John was on his way.

Becky got Hailey settled into bed while Ray called 911. Within a matter of mere minutes, Clinton County 911 telecommunicator Marcia DeBoer talked an anxious Ray through the birth of his son.

Becky delivered the baby while Ray, sounding very winded and distressed according to the 911 call recording, relayed the proper instructions calmly provided by DeBoer.

The call took a total of about 12 minutes. John was born approximately 7 and a half minutes into the 911 call.

Given no other choice, Becky and Hailey buckled down and did what they needed to do. Yet, in retrospect, Becky says she can't believe she helped deliver her own grandson in a bedroom with nothing more than a voice over the phone guiding them.

"Everything went into slow motion," Becky recalls. "Hailey was in bed pushing and to help her, we joined hands and I said, 'Okay, let's have a baby.'"

That's exactly what they did and just seconds after he was born, John James uttered his first cries. DeBoer instructed Becky and Ray to make sure to clean off the baby's mouth and nose, wrap him in a clean blanket or towel and to tie off the umbilical cord.

Before the ambulance arrived, which had been detained at the scene of a motor vehicle accident, DeBoer's calm and capable demeanor helped the family miraculously deliver a healthy baby boy under less than ideal and downright scary circumstances.

"We're just so grateful," Becky shares. "It's amazing what you can do when you have to. My mother and I both come from good, sturdy German stock . . . I'm just glad Hailey inherited that. I'm so proud of her. Once we got her into bed, she was probably the calmest one of all of us."

Hailey and John James were taken in separate ambulances - first to Genesis Medical Center-DeWitt, then on to Genesis East in Davenport. They were hospitalized just a day and a half to ensure all was well.

Clinton County communications manager Eric Dau says Hailey did make history by being the first person ever to give birth at home by way of the Emergency Medical Dispatch Program.

The program was established in 2008 and allows 911 operators to offer life-saving instructions over the telephone. While the program commonly has been used to help people administer CPR or control bleeding, there have been a few close calls with women in labor.

No one, however, actually gave birth before getting to a hospital.

No one, that is, until Hailey.

"The neat thing about this is we've used this program a number of times to help save lives," Dau shares, "but this time we were able to use it for the other end of the life spectrum . . . to bring life into the world."


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