IRRIGON - A first in his more than 25 years of law enforcement work, Morrow County Sheriff Ken Matlack helped deliver an 111/2 pound baby girl late Thursday morning after an ambulance was delayed in getting to the parents' home.
The 9-1-1 call from the Irrigon residence came in at 10:40 a.m. Thursday, transferred to the Morrow County dispatchers from the Hermiston Police Department, said Dispatcher Sarah Baker, who took the call.
Matlack, who was in Irrigon at the time, heard over his radio that the ambulance was waiting for a second driver before heading to the residence. He went then to the residence to help, meeting a frantic father outside who hurriedly pushed him into a back bedroom. There, he found the mother - and the baby's head crowning.
"I was rounding the corner in the house, he just gestured to his wife and I saw the head was three-quarters delivered," Matlack said. "I thought, oooh, this is going to be interesting."
While the father held a phone to Matlack's ear, Dispatcher Baker gave state-mandated instructions over the phone lines for how to deliver a baby.
Matlack, at first, thought the baby might be in trouble because she wasn't breathing.
"The mother looked pretty tired, too. 'Course I probably over-reacted."
The ambulance crew arrived at the parents' home at 365 S.E. Third St. at 10:47 a.m., and finished the baby's delivery. About 10 minutes later, or what felt like 10 minutes, Matlack said the baby started crying.
"You found one happy sheriff," Matlack said. "I was so concerned. I was as happy as she was I think."
The mother, Juana Lomas, and the baby girl were transferred to Good Shepherd Hospital in Hermiston and both were in good condition as of Friday morning, said Rick Rice, spokesperson for the hospital.
Through Rice, Lomas declined to comment for the story.
Dispatcher Baker said the Sheriff was very calm as she talked him through the baby's delivery.
The dispatchers gave Matlack a standing ovation when he returned to the office.
Baker, too, will receive recognition for her part. It is rare for a dispatcher to help deliver a baby over the phone, and potential calls are coveted, Baker said.