Baby girl born on side of road

Hayden fire chief delivers infant

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Payton ReNea Roop was born at 6:58 a.m. Wednesday on the side of a highway. She was delivered by a fire chief.

Craig resident William Roop, Payton's father, said he awoke early Wednesday morning to the words, "I'm having a baby."

Payton's mother, Sarah Fredrickson, 25, was going into labor and having intense contractions.

The Craig couple, whose obstetrician is in Steamboat Springs, decided to attempt the trip to Steamboat so their fourth child could be delivered at Yampa Valley Medical Center.

"I asked Sarah if she was sure she wanted to go to Steamboat, and she said she (was)," Roop said. "We just weren't sure if we were going to make it."

After passing through Hayden, the couple realized the baby was going to be born before they could reach Steamboat.

"I couldn't get cell (phone) service until we passed (Yampa Valley Regional Airport), and when I finally did get through to 911, they told me to pull over at Twentymile (Road)," Roop said.

Routt County Sheriff's Office Dep. Tom Munden was the first to reach the couple and helped calm Fredrickson down until an ambulance could pick her up.

"It was quite scary," Roop said. "We weren't sure the ambulance was going to get there in time, and Sarah kept asking (Munden) if he'd ever delivered a baby before," Roop said. "When he didn't say anything, we figured that meant no."

Munden said he was prepared to help in whatever way he needed, but he was glad the ambulance arrived before Payton did.

"Dad was pretty calm...mom was, well, she was in labor, but she was pretty calm, too," he said.

Minutes later, West Routt Fire Protection District Chief Bryan Rickman and EMS provider Eric Yager pulled up next to the couple.

Fredrickson was loaded into the ambulance, and Rickman realized within "about two minutes" that the baby would arrive before they could make it to the hospital.

Rickman delivered the baby, his second delivery in his 32-year career.

Fredrickson said the experience was a little frightening, but she was pleased with the outcome.

"Everything went great. We're both just fine," she said.

"For me it was a piece of cake," Rickman said. "It was really an amazing scene. Everyone there did a great job."

Roop said Fredrickson's due date was Jan. 4, but he had a feeling Payton was going to be early.

"Sarah delivered early with the last two, so I figured she would with this one, too. My guess was Dec. 23, so I was pretty darn close," he said.

Watching a fire chief deliver his fourth child was an experience he'll never forget.

"This was a great Christmas present," he said. "I'm really excited because I know this is going to be a great holiday."

Payton joins 7-year-old brothers Monty and Isiac, and 18-month-old brother Blaine.

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