Baby born in ambulance meets COVA crew

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 March 2014 at 12:00 am

Melayla Wenner is healthy with strong lungs

Photo by Tom Rivers – COVA paramedic Steve Cooley holds Melayla Wenner, a baby he delivered in an ambulance on Feb. 27. Melayla visited the COVA crew today at the organization’s headquarters, 239 South Main St. Terry Bentley, back right, helped deliver the baby. Jake Crooks, also in back, drove the ambulance.

ALBION – Ayla Staats has watched television shows before when babies were born in an ambulance. She didn’t think that would ever happen in real life. She thought a woman would feel the baby coming, and give herself plenty of time to get to the hospital.

Staats gave birth to two children before her third child was born on Feb. 27. She was in labor for 17 hours with the first baby, followed by 15 hours with the second child.

Her daughter was due Feb. 24. Last Thursday, after the baby missed her due date by three days, she suddenly decided she wouldn’t wait any longer.

Melayla Wenner was born only 30 minutes after Staats’s water broke. Melayla was born in an ambulance on Feb. 27 at 11:51 a.m. The ambulance was staffed by Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance and was traveling on Route 31 near Manitou Road when the baby took her first breath.

Today, eight days after her birth, Melayla and her mother visited the COVA headquarters at 239 South Main St.

“I just wanted to say, ‘Thank you,’” said Ayla Staats. “They did an awesome job.”

Terry Bentley, an intermediate EMT with COVA, holds a baby she helped deliver last week. The baby’s mother, Ayla Staats, is pictured in back with Jason Spencer, COVA administrator.

Eights days after she was born in an ambulance, Melayla Wenner visited the crew at COVA this afternoon. The baby is pictured with Steve Cooley, right, the baby’s mother Ayla Staats, intermediate EMT Terry Bentley, and COVA driver Jake Crooks, left.

Staats lives in Medina. She was visiting her mother in Albion last Thursday when they decided to call the ambulance. That was 11:15 a.m. COVA was on the scene at 11:20.

The birth was a first for Steve Cooley during his 22-year career as a firefighter and paramedic for 22 years. He took the lead in the delivery and was assisted by Terry Bentley, an intermediate EMT.

Both Cooley and Bentley tried to keep Staats calm. Initially they didn’t want her to push too hard. But when the baby’s head showed, they encouraged Staats to keep going and push out the baby.

When the baby was born, they wiped her off and kept her warm. It was another seven minutes before they reached Unity Hospital in Rochester. Hospital staff and another ambulance crew were waiting for them.

Staats said she was scared and nervous as the birth moved quickly. She praised Cooley and Bentley for taking control of the situation and delivering a healthy baby, weighing 8 pounds, 4 ounces and measuring 19.5 inches long.

COVA has delivered other babies during its 35-year history, but it’s not very common, said Jason Spencer, paramedic and administrator for COVA. The crew trains for it, and was ready on Feb. 27.

If Lakeside Memorial Hospital in Brockport was still open, Melayla probably would have been born there. Medina Memorial Hospital also would have been a close option, but that hospital closed its maternity wing in July 2011.

Spencer said Melayla is the first baby COVA has delivered since the two hospitals stopped delivering babies. Now, COVA has a longer ride to get a patient to a hospital.

Jake Crooks drove the ambulance last Thursday during a cold, snowy day. Staats was on a stretcher in the ambulance, which she said was kept warm.

Staats said she is grateful she called for an ambulance. She thought she had a lot of time. She almost had her mother drive her to the hospital.

“I’m happy they delivered my baby,” Staats said. “She’s healthy and her siblings love her.”