CARIBOU, Maine — A detective with the Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles’ Office of Investigations was lauded Thursday afternoon for going beyond the call of duty when she responded to a medical emergency and assisted in the delivery of a breech baby at a Fort Fairfield home last month.
Stephanie Beaulieu was given the Secretary of State’s Commendation Medal by Secretary of State Charlie Summers during a surprise ceremony at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles in Caribou. A number of family members and current and former colleagues attended, watching as Beaulieu’s daughter Sarah pinned the medal to her mother’s jacket.
Beaulieu, who was a full-time officer for the Caribou Police Department for seven years before taking the job at the BMV, was eating supper with her daughter at her Fort Fairfield home on April 19 when she heard Rachel Quint and Alicia Royal, dispatchers at the Houlton Regional Communications Center, calling out first responders in Fort Fairfield to a home just one mile away from her own.
Beaulieu said Thursday that she knew that a nearby fire was occupying first responders, so she drove to the home. There she found a woman, whose name has not been released because of medical privacy regulations, already had delivered one child and was in labor with a second.
Paramedic Fred Parsons and EMT Intermediate Matt McPherson were on duty at The Aroostook Medical Center’s Crown Ambulance base in Fort Fairfield when the dispatch call came in just after 7 p.m.
Beaulieu said that she passed U.S. Border Patrol Agent Daryl McElvene, who saw that she had activated the lights on her unmarked cruiser and followed her to the scene.
Beaulieu convinced a young child at the home to unlock the front door and went to the upstairs bathroom, where the mother was screaming for help and lying with a newborn baby girl on a bathmat on the floor. The baby was crying, she said, but was struggling to breathe. Beaulieu periodically stimulated the baby to keep her breathing while she helped the mother.
Parsons and McPherson arrived a short time later along with Paramedic Jeff Leighton. Leighton cared for the baby girl while Parsons, McPherson and Beaulieu worked together to deliver the baby boy.
According to Beaulieu, seconds after the first ambulance crew arrived, Fort Fairfield Fire Department Assistant Chief Mike Jalbert and Firefighter Mitch Dufour arrived to help.
The baby boy was breech, so Parsons guided McPherson and Beaulieu on the delivery. Beaulieu said Thursday that the bathroom was so small that she and McPherson had to crouch in the bathtub while the mother faced them on the floor. They safely delivered the boy.
The babies and mother were taken to the The Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle. The babies then were taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, as they were born at only 32 weeks gestation.
Beaulieu said that she has followed up with the family and the babies are doing better.
Summers noted that Beaulieu “could have very easily said ‘the EMTs will handle it.’”
“But she went above and beyond the call of duty and took it upon herself to go help someone who was in need,” he said. “It speaks to who Stephanie is as a person and to how she was raised.”
“They always say that leadership is not what you are doing when people are watching, but what you are doing when they are not watching. I am very proud to present this award,” Summers said.
Beaulieu said the commendation “means a lot” to her.
“It was a normal response for me to go and help someone in need,” she said. “It is what law enforcement officers are trained to do, to help someone in need.”
Rep. Peter Edgecomb, R-Caribou; Rep. Bernard Ayotte, R-Caswell; and Rep. Tyler Clark, R-Easton; also attended to offer congratulations.
Beaulieu said that she had to laugh when they arrived at TAMC with the newborns and she overheard a physician noting that the child was “intact.”
“I was thinking, ‘What?’” she recalled, chuckling, before realizing that breech babies sometimes can suffer dislocations or fractures resulting from the delivery.
She credited Parsons, a paramedic with 35 years of experience, for his crucial guidance during the delivery of the baby boy.