Midwest City firefighter reunites with ‘miracle baby’ he helped deliver 16 years ago
By Aaliyah Herrera
On a night in December of 2003, Midwest City firefighters Joel Bain and Mark Finnell got a call to help deliver a baby.
The mother, Laura Martin, thought she had to go to the bathroom, but ended up delivering the baby instead. She recalls thinking it was the scariest moment of her life.
Luckily the station was only two blocks away and the firefighters arrived in no time. They brought their emergency obstetrical kits and helped deliver the baby. They rubbed the baby’s belly and bottoms of her feet to keep her stimulated. She was only 500 grams or, “Smaller than the palm of my hand,” Bain said.
Bain had only been working at the fire department for 6 months. It was his first time getting an obstetric call [help with delivering].
“To be thrown into that situation was a bit overwhelming, but very rewarding at the same time,” Bain said. “Myself and my partner, Finnell, not having enough time, wanted to make sure we had everything we needed. We just wanted to be sure we could provide everything so we wouldn’t have to go back out into the truck. When we walked in we immediately knew we were going to have to finish delivering the baby.”
The firefighters are trained for situations like these. It’s quite a common thing that happens within the work field. They respond to anything people would call 911 for. Almost 75 percent of the calls are for medical services including obstetric calls, broken legs, heart attacks, strokes, and other emergencies.
Laura’s daughter Chloe Marquardt was supposed to be born in April of 2004, but came in December. She was 23 weeks at the time.
“We called 911 and they were there immediately. Like I hung up the phone and they suddenly appeared out of nowhere. They cut the umbilical cord and were working on Chloe. They got me into the ambulance and we headed to the St. Anthony’s Hospital. They took her to the Children’s Hospital and had her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They hooked her up, but couldn’t get her intubated.”
Hospital staff weren’t optimistic about Chloe’s chance of making it.
“They wrapped her up and gave her to me saying she’s going to die,” Laura said. “There’s nothing that you could do. They couldn’t get a tube down her throat. Everything was too big. She was just too small. They said at 23 weeks she’s not viable at all.”
Just two hours later, nurses delivered incredible news. Chloe was breathing on her own.
“They tried to intubate her again, which luckily worked,” Laura said. “They took her back into NICU and said she’s probably not going to make it, but we’re more positive about it.”
Chloe stayed in the NICU for 4 1/2 months. She was on oxygen and had a hole in her heart, and a level 4 brain bleed.
“They said if she lived that she couldn’t walk or talk. She’d basically be a vegetable. I said I want you to try what you can and they did,” Laura said. “The nurses there were absolutely fabulous. If it was not for this wonderful man [Bain], Chloe wouldn’t be here today.”
Laura brought Chloe to the first station on her first few birthdays. She had cupcakes and ice cream with Bain and his fellow firefighters. During Christmas, her and her family would always try to take cookies and sandwiches.
“I feel that it is so important to give back since they gave us so much,” she said. “We wanted to let them know how much we appreciate them.”
Chloe currently goes to physical therapy and occupational therapy. She is able to walk and talk like her family had hoped. When she was in grade school, she played flag football, volleyball, and track. As she got into middle school, her grades were excellent enough to get her into National Junior Honor Society. As of this year, Chloe is in Rotary Club and was able to serve the man who saved her life.
Chloe was recently volunteering at Picnic with Protectors when she spotted Bain. She still recognized him after so long. Bain said he felt as if he hadn’t seen a family member in years. When they talked, they picked back up as if they hadn’t seen each other in years.
“Seeing him made my year. He saved my life and he’s the best thing that happened to me,” Chloe said.
One thing that Laura recalls is when the firefighters bought Chloe a beanie baby, while she was still in an incubator. The stuffed animal had the fire department logo. The toy was just as big as Chloe.
It turns out one of the firefighters was married to a nurse that worked at the Children’s Hospital. They would ask about Chloe and she would kindly fill them in. Laura said she cried tears of joy.
Laura and Chloe were asked to tell their story by the March of Dimes. Even from the hospital parents with premature babies still call Laura. She would always say, “If Chloe can do this, keep the faith.”
Seeing each other after so long was an emotional feeling for each of them. To this day Chloe still talks about Bain. She even gives cookies to the nurses who helped her years ago.
“This is a story I definitely tell a lot of people. I’m just so proud of Chloe and how far she has come. I’m so proud of our city for hiring such outstanding individuals,” Laura said.
“It’s really interesting. I never knew any of this. I’m very proud of my dad. I don’t hear a lot about his work. So, hearing what all he did for Chloe makes me feel very proud,” said Connor Bain, son of Joel Bain.