In the modern day, most babies are born at the hospital. However, little Benjamin Ascheman decided he wanted to be a little different when he entered the world on March 6.
Benjamin’s eagerness to meet his family meant that his Issaquah Highlands parents, Debora and Ryan Ascheman, did not have time to make it to the hospital. Instead, the couple delivered the baby on their living room floor with the help of a 911 dispatcher and Eastside Fire and Rescue crews.
And on April 7, the Aschemans gathered with their helpers at Eastside Fire and Rescue Station 73 to publicly thank the firefighters who helped to give their son a safe delivery.
“Today we’re here to celebrate new life in the family,” Eastside Fire Captain Steve Westlake said. “Benjamin came at home rather than in the hospital, which is rather unusual.”
“I’ve been here 25 years and this only was my fourth [baby delivery],” said Eastside Fire Lieutenant Daryl Butler. “It’s just as exciting as day one.”
Since Debora had been in labor nearly 30 hours with the Aschemans’ first child, Kayla, she assumed she had plenty of time when her contractions started on the morning of March 6.
“I thought we would do the early labor at home — it’s more comfortable at home,” Debora explained.
When one contraction felt different from the others, Debora and Ryan decided that it was time to go to the hospital.
However, the Aschemans did not even make it down the stairs, much less to the hospital, before Debora’s body began pushing. Realizing they would never make it in time, the Aschemans called 911 and prepared for Debora to give birth on the floor in front of the front door.
It was 911 dispatcher Jenna Mapes’ first day on the job, but she calmly and efficiently guided the Aschemans through the birth.
“It was a really cool experience,” Mapes said. “I definitely got emotional right at the end.”
Benjamin did not waste any time. The entire 911 call lasted just eight minutes.
“Everything went great — it was a great experience,” Debora said.
“Having the knowledgable instructions made everything much easier to be not panicked about the situation … It made for a very pleasant morning,” Ryan said. “It made it easy to get through the difficult part of having him born to being able to enjoy it after.”
Debora said that Eastside Fire and Rescue arrived “just a few seconds” after Benjamin was born. The firefighters and Bellevue Fire paramedics assisted the Aschemans and brought them to the hospital.
“I love babies, I always have,” Butler said. “It is too cool at that moment. Carrying it for 40 weeks wondering what it’s going to look like … and seeing the moment they meet.”
For the firefighters, who are regularly at the scene of car accidents and cardiac arrests, seeing life begin was a rare happy call.
“It was really exhilarating for me,” Butler said. “I was walking around on cloud nine for the rest of the day.”
“You made my whole year,” Eastside Firefighter Mark Leroy told the couple.
The Aschemans, in turn, are very grateful for the service of Eastside Fire and Rescue.
“The service they’re standing by all the time to provide is invaluable,” Ryan said.