York Area Regional corporal delivered baby girl, 2nd officer drove her to the hospital
A York Area Regional Police corporal said she simply fell back on her training when she helped a Windsor Township couple's newborn daughter make an expedited entrance into the world.
Local registered nurse and newly minted mother of two Casey Poppenwimer praised Cpl. Stephanie Phillips and how calm she remained during the delivery and said she's grateful to both Phillips and to Officer Brandy Goodling, who drove the ambulance that ferried newborn Zoey Grace to York Hospital.
"They were amazing, and I just can't thank them enough," the 34-year-old Poppenwimer said on Thursday.
She's back at home with husband Grant Poppenwimer. Zoey Grace remains in York Hospital's continuing-care nursery and is doing well, her mother said.
When 911 dispatched officers to a township home about 4 a.m. Tuesday for a woman in labor, Phillips was only about a minute away.
She said she never imagined delivering the baby would fall on her shoulders and said she'd never been on that end of a delivery before.
"When I first arrived, I saw the dad. He was standing at the door yelling, 'Officer! Officer!'" Phillips told The York Dispatch. "I knew at that point it was kind of urgent."
Phillips ran to the home, where Grant Poppenwimer directed her to the family's bathroom.
"Casey was laying on the floor," the corporal said, and Zoey Grace's head was already crowning.
Baby wouldn't wait: Phillips said she put on gloves as quickly as she could and got down on the floor with Casey.
"I was coaching her through it and telling her to breathe," Phillips told The York Dispatch.
After a minute — two at most — it was all over, she reported.
Phillips said the first-aid training she has received as an officer allowed her to remain calm.
"Your instincts kick in, and you just know what to do," she said. "You just don’t panic. You’re focused on what you need to do to get something done correctly."
Casey didn't panic either.
"She did a fantastic job," Phillips said. "She was breathing, she knew what to do, she stayed calm."
The corporal, who also is a mother of two, said she experienced a moment of fear — one she didn't share with Casey during the delivery.
Scary moment: "The umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's head twice," Phillips said. "It was scary."
The corporal said that when she was giving birth to her own daughter, the same thing happened and she panicked when she overheard a nurse announce it in the delivery room.
"I never told (Casey) about the umbilical cord because it was already a stressful situation," Phillips said.
Instead, she unwrapped the umbilical cord from around Zoey Grace and did what she was trained to do to get the newborn breathing, she said.
"I rubbed her back and swept her mouth out, and she began to cry," and also flicked the bottom of the baby's feet to stimulate her, Phillips said. Hearing Zoey Grace cry for the first time left the corporal with a feeling of satisfaction, she said.
That's about the time when York Area Regional Officer Goodling arrived, and she too helped keep Zoey Grace warm and breathing until two ambulance crews arrived, Phillips said.
"She didn't think we were going to be delivering a baby either," the corporal said of her fellow officer.
Had Phillips not arrived so quickly, the couple would have been on their own, Casey said.
Officer drove ambulance: Emergency medical technicians took over at the scene and gave Zoey Grace oxygen and kept her warm, according to Phillips.
The EMTs asked whether one of the officers could drive the ambulance so EMTs could focus on caring for the baby, she said.
Goodling got behind the wheel of one of the two York Regional Emergency Medical Services ambulances that responded and took off for York Hospital, Phillips said, while the second ambulance transported Casey there.
Phillips followed them, so Goodling would have a ride back to her cruiser.
"Both officers did an excellent job," York Area Regional Police Chief Tim Damon said. "I am extremely proud of how they handled themselves and the situation."
— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.