A call to remember: Firefighter delivers baby in car at Holloman AFB

New Mexico News

ALAMOGORDO, N.M. (KRQE) – A longtime New Mexico firefighter got the surprise of his career when he delivered a baby in a car at the main gate of Holloman Air Force Base. In fact, it was the first baby he’s ever delivered.

Two weeks ago, SSgt. Grant Novotnak’s wife Ruth went into labor in the middle of the night with their second child. They called 911 and started heading to the hospital, but they didn’t even make it out of the base before that baby decided it was coming.

“Typically we respond to medical calls. We provide a lot of muscle, moving patients from point A to point B, so with this particular call, I was trying to get the guys psyched up like, alright, let’s go catch a baby, let’s go deliver a baby,” said Norman Bloom, a firefighter with the Holloman AFB Fire Department. “I’ve done this job for 20-some years. Those kinds of calls are usually just someone having contractions or false labor. Something of that nature. We usually end up with a lot more time.”

Bloom was wrapping up a 48-hour shift when the call came in. The first to arrive on the scene, he prepared to take vitals when Grant Novotnak ran over to say the baby was already crowning in the back of their car.

Bloom jumped into action, made sure there were no complications, and delivered baby Susanna just after 4 in the morning. With more than 20 years of experience as a first responder, Bloom says this was a surreal experience he’ll never forget.

“The entire process was just so smooth and there was such calmness. Both of the parents were just amazing,” said Bloom. “I’ve done this job for a long time and I’ve sat with a lot of people as they were leaving, a lot of souls that were leaving the Earth, and I really feel blessed to meet this one and be the first one this soul met coming into the world.”

Both Ruth and baby are healthy and doing well after they were transferred to the hospital. Not long after they got back, they brought everyone by for Bloom to officially meet the family.

Bloom says there’s a lot of changes going on with Holloman’s EMS program as the fire department gets involved, so they hope this is the first of many good stories they’ll have with locals. The Novotnak family was unable to interview, but say, “this is less about our story and more about the heroes we have in the U.S. Air Force,” continuing to add, “the people at the gate and the first responders are all heroes.”

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