When Hinesville Police Officer Angela Reynolds pulled into the Hinesville Glass and Mirror parking lot in the 1100 block of West Oglethorpe Highway on Tuesday morning, she had no idea she would be saving the life of an infant born minutes earlier in the front seat of a family Chevy.
Reynolds, who was patrolling the streets of Hinesville, received a call about a woman in labor. When Reynolds arrived, the mother, later identified as Priscilla Keene of Ludowici, was slumped on the passenger seat with her baby on her stomach as a nervous new dad, Mark Keene, waited outside the car for help to arrive.
The baby, who later was named Roman, had been wrapped in a towel. Reynolds noticed foam coming from the child’s mouth, and he was not crying.
First, Reynolds told Mark Keene to turn on the vehicle’s heat as the temperature hovered near freezing. She then checked to make sure the umbilical was not wrapped around Roman’s neck and called 911 to request that the operator get emergency medical personnel ready to deliver instructions over the radio in case she needed to resuscitate a baby in distress.
Once Reynolds determined the umbilical was not wrapped around Roman’s neck, she held the baby’s head and began to sweep his mouth for obstructions while she and Priscilla Keene stimulated the infant’s back until Roman began to cry.
Reynolds, a mother of three who downplayed her role in saving Roman, said Thursday that she has no idea whether the child cried when it first was born.
“I don’t know what happened prior to my arrival. I don’t know if the baby cried when it was born. Instincts kicked in and, in my opinion, the foam coming from his mouth didn’t seem normal, so instincts kicked in and I did what I had to do to get him to start crying,” she said.
Reynolds said it wasn’t her first time dealing with a birth inside a vehicle. She’s been through it when she worked with other police agencies.
“I have to say the mother deserves a medal. She was very calm,” Reynolds said.
The family was transported to Winn Army Community Hospital on Fort Stewart, where according to Reynolds, the child was doing fine when she left.