Hanover (MA) Firefighters Deliver Baby Boy in Ambulance on Father’s Day

Firefighters Sebastian Rivas and Jonathan Pelletier were in the back of the ambulance while Capt. Fred Freeman drove toward the hospital.

Wheeler Cowperthwaite

The Patriot Ledger, Quincy, Mass.


Paula Oliveira was on a stretcher in the back of a sweltering hot ambulance on Father’s Day when she went into labor with her second child.

Hanover firefighters Sebastian Rivas, 38, and Jonathan Pelletier, 32, were in the back of the ambulance with her while Capt. Fred Freeman drove toward Brockton Hospital.

Within a few minutes, Oliveira said she felt like she needed to push. That was a signal to Pelletier, whose wife is a registered nurse working in obstetrics, that the baby was coming.

Related: EMS Crew Delivers Breeched Infant

Just seconds after crowning, Oliveira pushed, the ambulance bounced a little as it went over the railroad tracks and Rivas was holding a baby. It was clear the boy, Noah, was fine, from all the kicking and screaming he was doing, Rivas said.

“He was pretty clean,” Rivas said. “It was like in the movies with how he was.”

It was just 17 minutes between the initial 911 call and when Rivas delivered Noah.

Freeman pulled over after the delivery. In a perfect world, they would have had enough time to ask Freeman to pull over once they realized the baby was coming, but Noah didn’t wait, giving them just a few seconds warning, Rivas said.

After Freeman pulled over, Rivas cut the cord, they cleaned up the baby and handed him to Oliveira.

“She was on cloud nine,” he said.

Rivas said the inside of the ambulance was so hot that, before the delivery, Oliveira grabbed his hand and asked him to turn on the air conditioning.

He said one of the tenants of delivering a baby in an ambulance is to crank up the heat because babies are highly susceptible to hypothermia and cannot regulate their own body temperatures.

Rivas got on the radio and told the dispatchers they delivered a healthy baby boy, even though it wasn’t the normal protocol. He also had to call the Brockton Hospital twice — first to let them know they were on their way with a woman in labor and the second time to say they were on their way with a newborn.

When they did arrive, they took Oliveira straight to the delivery ward where they were met by at least eight doctors and nurses, a jarring difference from the two of them in the a back of a cramped ambulance.

A Miracle on the Way

Oliveira and her husband went to the hospital on Saturday night, but were sent home as she wasn’t close enough to delivery. She was at 39 weeks, so she wasn’t overdue to deliver. Oliveira and her husband started heading to the hospital on Sunday morning when chaos broke out.

Rivas said the initial call to Hanover came in at 6:45 a.m, of a woman in labor pulled to the side of the road on Route 53 near the Dunkin’ at the Pembroke town line.

Hanover and Pembroke both responded. Rather than risk delivering in the car, they opted for the ambulance.

Related: Yonkers (NY) Fire Department EMS Crew Delivers Baby Inside Parent’s Home

Rivas and Pelletier put the mother on a stretcher and wheeled her into the back of the ambulance.

For the two firefighters, it was the the culmination of a very long shift. They’d had back-to-back calls the entire night, including one to check on someone who had already died. Delivering the baby was a bright spot.

As one soul left, another came into existence, Rivas said.

Rivas, Pelletier and Freeman are all fathers of two, and the delivery especially resonated with them.

Rivas and Pelletier said their one regret was they could not get the baby’s father into the ambulance with them as he already had the couple’s other child in a car seat. They would have been able to squeeze him into the ambulance, but not him and another child.

Pelletier said, in addition to the delivery, he also got to spend part of Sunday with his 6-month-old.

Rivas and Pelletier said Oliveira posted a picture of Noah to their Facebook page, which they welcomed as they rarely find out what happens to their patients.

“I can’t thank you enough! From beginning to the end, very patient and comprehensive!” she said in the comment on Sunday.

She said Noah was doing fine.

Oliveira could not be reached for comment.

The last two baby deliveries by paramedics in Hanover were a boy in 2016 and a girl in 2018, signified by stickers on the side of the ambulance. The ambulance Freeman was driving will get its own decal for Noah.

Pelletier, with 10 years of experience, and Rivas, with 14 years, said they’ve each helped deliver three babies as part of their training as paramedics, but that was in a hospital and not in the field. While certainly not the wildest thing they’ve seen, it was their first delivery.

“It’s certainly a Fathers Day to remember,” Rivas said. “I’ll never forget. It’s certainly not something you get to do all the time.”

Thanks to our subscribers, who help make this coverage possible. If you are not a subscriber, please consider supporting quality local journalism with a Patriot Ledger subscription.

Reach reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at wcowperthwaite@patriotledger.com.

This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: ‘A Father Day to remember:’ Hanover firefighters deliver baby boy in ambulance


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