It only took about nine minutes from the time the Holbrook Fire Department and Suffolk County Police responded to the birth of baby Hannah Grossman, but for three emergency workers the experience was once in a lifetime.
Assistant Chief Richard Stack, Holbrook FD Paramedic Chris Colletti and 5th Precinct Officer Christine Balsamo reunited at the Holbrook Fire Department on Terry Road this morning to recount the story of how they delivered a baby girl in her home on Blue Point Road in Holtsville. Stack said that by the time he got to the bedside of the mother, Elena Grossman, baby Hannah was crowning.
"It was a very strange and moving situation," Stack said. "I don't have any kids of my own, I've never been in that situation before."
In fact neither Stack, Balsamo or Colletti have ever delivered a baby before and none of them have kids of their own.
"Thankfully I just had my EMT refresher, so my training was there," Stack added.
This is the Grossman's second child; they have an older boy, who according to Stack was playing in the back yard with his babysitter while mom was in the room delivering.
For Officer Balsamo, the chance to bring a life into the world was a welcome change for the 11-year veteran.
"It's very good to be a part of something good for a change," Balsamo said. "Unfortunately we are a part of things that don't always turn out so well. It's something I'll never forget and I hope it happens again."
According to Stack, this is only the second time in his 27 years of service that a baby was delivered at a home by Holbrook volunteers. Colletti added that he had some "close calls" in his 15 years of service, but always made it to the hospital. This time around it would have been impossible.
"From the time we got there to the baby delivered was about nine minutes," Colletti said. "But the actual delivery was a blink. We saw the baby crowning, I blinked, and the shoulders were out."
Hanna's birth weight was a little more than four pounds; Colletti said the baby's due date wasn't until August, but that the baby is otherwise perfectly healthy.
"It's a great feeling," Colletti said. "It's really nice to watch something like that. I was with good people, we all took our roles and got it done."
Elena Grossman, father Seth Grossman, and baby Hannah are resting up at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore.