Deputy helps local woman give birth
October 14, 2020
A Quay County sheriff’s deputy helped a local woman give birth by the side of the road Thursday night after she and her husband couldn’t make it to a hospital on time.
Rudy Vallejo, a deputy for about 18 months, said during a telephone interview he was on patrol on Interstate 40 about 8 p.m. Thursday when he heard an emergency dispatcher send an ambulance on Highway 209 south of Tucumcari. He left the interstate and headed south on the highway to see whether he could assist before the ambulance arrived.
About six miles east of Ragland, Vallejo said he encountered a car that had pulled over the side of the road and the husband standing outside its front passenger door. Vallejo said the pregnant woman was in labor and screaming from the pain.
Vallejo said he and the husband tried to make the woman more comfortable while glancing west to see whether the ambulance was approaching. He acknowledged he and the husband were “a bit freaked out” about the situation.
“After a bit, I saw the top of the (baby’s) head pop out,” Vallejo said. “At that point, I told her, ‘Just push, because he’s coming.’”
Vallejo acknowledged his law-enforcement training didn’t include helping women give birth.
“I didn’t know what to do, but I’d seen the stuff they put on TV, where they gently grab the head and guide the baby out a little bit,” he said.
“Before you know it, the rest of the baby came out. A beautiful baby boy was born into this world. It was a surreal experience.”
Vallejo said he tapped the baby’s back to make sure it kept breathing, and the father took off his shirt to wrap the infant against the chill of the night air.
He said emergency medical technicians arrived minutes later to cut the umbilical cord and whisked the woman and the infant away in the ambulance to a Clovis hospital. The husband went back home to retrieve another shirt before resuming his journey to the hospital.
“I later got a call from the EMT, saying they made it to Clovis, and both of them were doing great,” Vallejo said.
Vallejo declined to identify the couple but said they resided in Tucumcari.
Sheriff Russell Shafer said indicated it didn’t surprise him Vallejo handled the situation.
“He’s very professional and a highly respected deputy. He’s always willing to lend a hand,” Shafer said during a phone interview Friday.
“This particular incident, the hand he lended was playing catcher to that lady who was in labor and couldn’t make it to the hospital.”
In his six years as sheriff, Shafer said he and his other deputies have had several close calls with women in labor but managed to get them to a hospital in time.
“This is a first, but this is what we’re designed to do — to lend help to hose citizens in need of help. I’m very pleased I have the staff who can help in a situation such as that.”
As for Vallejo, he said he didn’t get to sleep until about 1 a.m. after his shift because of the “adrenalin rush” from the incident.
“It definitely was a one-in-a-lifetime experience, but I’m ready to get back to work,” he said.