This Mercedes races to an early arrival

Sundaelee and Brian Cleaver and their daughter, Mercedez Aurora. The baby arrived early, and at home, Feb. 25.  - Cleaver family photo
Sundaelee and Brian Cleaver and their daughter, Mercedez Aurora. The baby arrived early, and at home, Feb. 25.
— image credit: Cleaver family photo

POULSBO – If this were a race, Mercedes handily outpaced Bentley.

Bentley Cleaver, son of Brian and Sundaelee Cleaver of Poulsbo, was born a week late in May 2011. His sister, however, was born a week early.

At home.

At the top of the stairs.

Mercedez (with a “z”) Aurora Cleaver made a zesty entrance into the world Feb. 25, propelling her dad and aunt into impromptu midwife roles.

Sundaelee was awakened by contractions about 3:40 or 3:50 a.m. “They were not very consistent, but they were pretty strong,” she said. When the contractions increased in frequency, she woke up her husband and decided they’d better consult their doctor.

She got up to dress and was in the bathroom when it became evident this was the day the baby would be born. By the time she made it to the hallway outside her room she had a strong contraction “and I felt the baby drop down. I could feel my baby’s head,” she said.

Brian called his sister, Penny Church, who lives in a basement apartment in the home. Church called 9-1-1 and relayed instructions to Brian. Soon, Brian saw the baby’s head and shoulders. At approximately 4:15 a.m., the baby was born: 8 pounds 3 ounces, as it turns out, and 19 inches long. Paramedics arrived shortly after the birth and took mom and baby to Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale.

Brian, a paralegal in Silverdale, kept his cool during the birth. “I think I was pretty calm. Inside, I was jumping around and screaming, but I didn’t expose that to her,” he said.

“It was miraculous, really,” he said: He was unprepared for his role as midwife. His sister, on the phone with 9-1-1, relayed to him instructions on what to do. He “caught the baby as she came out,” he said. Paramedics arrived at their home — “on a mile-long dirt road in the middle of nowhere” — shortly after. Mom and baby are just fine, and returned to their Port Gamble Road home on Feb. 27.

Mercedez is already exhibiting a personality that belies her excited entrance into the world. “She has a very pretty smile, a round little face,” her mom said. “And she has a very calm personality.”

Mercedez’s grandparents are Jill and Eric Cleaver of Poulsbo, and Patti and John Shaver of Poulsbo. Her great-grandparents are Ralph and Marylou Aurora Leavitt of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Betty Christensen of Driggs, Idaho.

Mercedez’s birth at home was one of two imminent births to which North Kitsap Fire & Rescue was dispatched Feb. 25, spokeswoman Michele Laboda said. At noon, medics got a mom in labor to Harrison just in time — “The baby was born before we left the hospital,” Laboda said.

All told, North Kitsap Fire & Rescue was dispatched to nine imminent-birth calls in 2012. Only one call, in June, ended with a home birth; the baby was delivered before medics arrived.

“It’s not that common and it’s really special when it happens,” said Jody Matson, spokeswoman for the Poulsbo Fire Department. She said it was more frequent before Harrison Medical Center opened its birthing center in Silverdale.

Matson said the last imminent birth she can recall her department being dispatched to was about two years ago. Afterward, the mom visited the department “and we took pictures of the baby.”


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