Monday morning, May 5, a healthy Nahoa Apana was born unexpectedly at home; with complications during the delivery adding risk to the unprepared home birth, the officer on duty was able to assist.
Officer Kyle Smith responded to a call while working the night shift, arriving on scene at 5:41 a.m. and, assessing the situation, he used his medical qualifications to help safely deliver the baby.
“When I arrived on scene, I located the female, who was in the living room, and she was definitely delivering the baby—which was in the breach position—I could see a foot sticking out,” said Smith.
According to Smith, the baby was sideways and he had to physically try to reposition it because there was a risk of the umbilical cord being wrapped around the baby’s neck.
“Through my training I had her get on all fours,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the protocol or what the dispatcher would have done, but looking at the situation I said, ‘I’m gonna have to get you on all fours and have your family help you.’ That way I could get an assessment for the baby to see if the baby was in distress.”
After officer Smith instructed the woman to try a different position, he said he had to turn the baby so it would have the safest delivery, this after he decided the best option was to deliver in the home instead of waiting for the ambulance.
“At that point I had to go hands-on and physically turn the baby so its pelvis and hips were in line. It was imminent,” he said. “It was not her first child and it happened so rapidly that essentially the baby was going to be delivered one way or the other. I thought that was the safest way for the baby to come out at that time and hoped the EMS would hurry up.”
According to Smith, the EMTs arrived just before the baby was fully delivered.
“It happened so fast I was probably there for three to four minutes and had the baby before the EMTs arrived,” he said. “I had the baby delivered essentially everything but the head. I had to reposition the baby to get the hips out and shortly after the hips, one arm followed and I think after I had one arm, one shoulder out is when the EMTs arrived.”
Smith added “Probably 10 to 15 seconds had the baby out probably another 10 seconds after that is when it breathed its first breath and gave a good scream.”
Boyne City Police Chief Jeffery Gaither said this kind of situation does not occur every day, and that Smith has more extensive training than what most police officers are required to have.
“I don’t know the history of Boyne City and what’s happened—but it happens from time to time,” Gaither said. “People call 9-1-1 for a surprise or some kind of situation with a delivery. We’re fortunate in Boyne City because we can normally be at a residence before EMS arrives.”
Before joining the Boyne City Police Department, and other departments he’s worked on, Smith had experience in the Coast Guard as a flight medic.
“I went to advanced school in Coast Guard and it was a flight medic type position,” Smith said. “I flew on helicopters and we’d do Medevac off of ships that were quite a ways off shore. So we had to know a little more just because the time from on-scene to the hospital could be upwards of an hour-and-a-half to two hours as apposed to a 10 minute ambulance ride.”
Gaither said he is proud Smith was able to help.
“We’re fortunate he has those qualifications and that he went above and beyond what we require of our officers,” Gaither said. “We feel fortunate we have somebody who has that kind of training and it’s great that he had a chance to use it.”
This was Smith’s first delivery as a police officer.
“It feels great knowing I was able to get there and help out,” Smith said. “It’s always great when your training kicks in. It feels great to help any of our residents or anybody who needs our help.”
He added, “I didn’t think anything of it until I got home and talked to my wife a little more, but it could have been really bad—it could have been a bad call but things worked out. I was ultra focused and knew what I had to do in order to help mom and help the baby.”
Gaither presented Smith with a certificate during the Tuesday May 13 Boyne City Commission meeting.
“Officer Smith’s prior medical training, combined with his passion for helping people came together when he responded to a 9-1-1 call for help and found a mother in the process of delivery,” Gaither read from the certificate. “Although the baby was breach, Officer Smith was able to position the mother to physically receive the baby as the birth progressed. Officer Smith’s knowledge, calm demeanor, and confidence helped calm the mother and other family members throughout the delivery process.”
Smith and Gaither both said they appreciated the team efforts of EMS and the dispatchers all pulling together to help safely deliver the baby.
“Hopefully it exemplifies what the Boyne City police is able to do,” Gaither said. “We’re here to serve the people and that was a situation where the right person was available at the right time—it all came together and ended up very well.”