News & Events

Blizzard baby born in Backus ambulance bay

February 14, 2013

Having  a baby is one of life’s most memorable moments.

Having one at the height of a blizzard only adds to the event. Having one in a blizzard in an ambulance bay makes it absolutely unforgettable —  a story that will be told for generations to come.

That’s exactly what happened to  James and Donna Ambrosia, a Colchester couple who had six children by marriage but none together – until Friday, that is.

It all started with Donna having contractions.  They went to St. Francis Medical Center in Hartford, but were sent home.

Meanwhile, predictions of a major winter storm began to gain steam, and the thought crossed their minds that if the baby came a week early it could happen during the storm.

Sure enough, that Friday, she started having massive contractions and they weren’t far apart. They were told they didn’t have time to go to St. Francis, especially with heavy snow and winds ongoing, and they would have to go to Backus by ambulance.

The 20-mile ride from Colchester to Backus took much longer than usual – more than an hour – because of the storm. But every time they got worried the trained personnel on board calmed them down.

Meanwhile, the Birthing Center was expecting them. But it wasn’t expecting what would happen next.

As soon as they pulled into Backus, they realized she might not make it to the floor. Emergency Department physician Kyle McClaine, MD, ended up meeting them in the ambulance bay – and the baby was delivered on spot.

Dr. McClain said it has been a while since he had delivered a baby, in fact, not since his medical school training. But he took it all in stride, and didn’t have time to worry.

“I was caught up in the moment,” Dr. McClain said. “Mom and dad were great, as were our staff. I was just there for the ride.”

Modesty aside, the Ambrosia family was very thankful.

“Despite the situation, it was great coordinated care by Backus, the ambulance company and everyone involved,” James Ambrosia said. “We’re very grateful for everything.”

After a short stay in the Backus Birthing Center, mom, dad and baby went home on Saturday.

They  named her Elizabeth, but instead of nicknaming her Liz, they decided to call her “Blizzy.”