SALEM, Mass. — Avery James D’Avolio of Salem, Mass., either wanted to see the Red Sox home opener, or he just loves a crowd. While other babies are content to arrive in the relative privacy of a hospital delivery room, Avery was born early Monday morning on the living room floor before a standing-room-only crowd of firefighters, paramedics and police.
“It was quite an adventure,” said his mother, Maura.
It was also an adventure for the crew of Engine 1, who made their first delivery a home run, so to speak.
“Quite honestly, it was the last thing I expected to do as I was getting ready to go to work,” said fire Lt. Scott Hebert, who heads a team that includes firefighters Bob Griffith and Ed Burns.
It also wasn’t in the plans of the baby’s mother, who went to bed early Sunday night dreaming about the arrival of her second child his due date was April 27 and awoke a few hours later with “indigestion.” When the “cramps” started getting closer together, her husband, Gerald “Jay” D’Avolio Jr., called 911.
Within minutes, three Salem firefighters were coming through the door of the family’s Gardner Street home, followed closely by police and paramedics from Northshore Ambulance. They led the expectant mother from the bathroom to the living room and helped her lie down on a blanket.
“When I took a look, she was fully crowned,” Hebert said, meaning the top of the baby’s head was already visible.
Things moved quickly from there. It took only two pushes for the baby to be born at 3:08 a.m. At that point, emergency personnel had been in the house just 12 minutes.
“I think it took longer for them to set me up on the floor than to get him out,” Maura D’Avolio said. “He literally flew out.”
The baby was delivered by a team of three Hebert and paramedics Jeremy Restuccia and Dawn Jordan of Northshore Ambulance.
“It was textbook,” the firefighter said.
He should know. Just a few months earlier, Hebert had taken a refresher class on childbirth with other Salem firefighters.
“It was fairly fresh in my mind,” he said.
While the flashing lights and emergency vehicles may have awakened the whole neighborhood, not everyone was caught up in the moment.
Seventeen-month-old Gerald “Jake” D’Avolio III slept through the delivery of his younger brother, awakening right at the end. And Misha, the family’s cat, was sound asleep on the couple’s king-sized bed.
Avery, named for a character in “Charlotte’s Web,” was 18 inches long and weighed 5 pounds, 10 ounces.
“He’s a peanut,” his mother said.
The D’Avolios are delighted their son is doing well and thankful for the quick and professional response they got from a 911 call.
“We have such admiration for all of the firefighters, and for everybody who was there,” Maura D’Avolio said. “They were unbelievable we’re so happy to be Salem residents.”