The last thing Glenn Adams expected to be doing early Thursday was delivering his own baby — and tying off the umbilical cord with a shoelace.

But that’s what the 31-year-old Oakland man did around 5 a.m. when his wife, Heather, announced it was time to go the hospital.

They didn’t get there. In fact, they made it only to the front door of their home, where her water broke and she slumped onto the floor.

“All of a sudden she said, ‘I’ve got to lie down,’” Adams recalled later Thursday. “I was like, uh-oh. She lay down next to the door on the mud mat. Her water had broken, so things really kicked into high gear.”

Adams dialed 911 and was connected with Waterville police dispatcher Sarah Bailey.

“He was a little bit frantic and said that she was overdue on her third child and that her water had broken,” Bailey said early Thursday in the communications center at Waterville City Hall.

Bailey called for rescue and police to respond to the home and began giving Adams instructions on what to do.

“The guy was amazing,” Bailey said. “He listened to everything I said and he repeated it back.”

Adams told Bailey he could see the baby’s head coming out.

“I was a little scared to reach in and grab it, but I did what she said and pulled the baby out,” he said. “It made a little noise. I knew it was breathing. I followed her instructions and cleared its mouth and massaged its back.”

Bailey told him to tie off the umbilical cord using a string or shoelace.

“I unlaced one of my shoes real quick and tied some kind of a granny knot,” Adams recalled.

At this point, the couple’s two daughters, Hannah, 4, and Leah, 2, had awoken in their rooms and were at the door gates, crying because they could hear their parents yelling, Adams said. The foursome made quite a sound.

“It was like a chorus of everything going on,” Adams said.

He was so absorbed in trying to make sure Heather and the baby were OK that he didn’t notice until he turned the baby around that it was a boy, he said.

“Reed Christopher Adams. Nine pounds, 9 ounces; 23 inches long. He’s a big boy. All his color is there, and he’s got some light-brownish hair.”

Adams cited these characteristics hours after the delivery and an ambulance ride to Thayer Campus, MaineGeneral Medical Center in Waterville.

He said his wife, 33, and their boy were doing well.

He praised Bailey for her help in making sure he delivered the infant properly.

“She definitely stayed on task and wasn’t distracted and didn’t freak out when I did,” he said. “She was very kind and very professional and helped me get through it.”

He said he thinks watching his daughters being born also helped him in the delivery. But did he expect to play the role of doctor for his third child?

“Not in a million years,” he said. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. It was cool, but I don’t want to have to do it again.”

Police Chief Joseph Massey praised Bailey for her performance Thursday. He said she is always upbeat, smiling and happy.

“Sarah just does a wonderful job, and all the dispatchers do a great job here,” he said.

Bailey, a mother herself, said she is relieved the delivery went well.

“I was just so happy the baby’s OK and the mommy’s OK. He (Adams) gets all the credit, because without him being able to listen to everything I was saying and performing it, there was no way we could have gotten through it the way we did.”

It was not the first time Bailey helped deliver a baby over the phone. Two years ago during a snowstorm, she gave instructions for delivering a baby in the back seat of a taxicab. That delivery also occurred in Oakland — and the baby also was a boy.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
acalder@centralmaine.com