Telluride EMT Lisa Andrews Delivers Baby Boy on Dallas Divide
by Martinique Davis
Aug 23, 2012 | 4617 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SPECIAL DELIVERY - Luke Canfield with his parents Elizabeth and Kyle in the NICU at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. (Courtesy photo)
SPECIAL DELIVERY - Luke Canfield with his parents Elizabeth and Kyle in the NICU at St. Mary's Hospital in Grand Junction. (Courtesy photo)

TELLURIDE – A Houston couple received the surprise of their lives last week, when Telluride Emergency Medical Technician Lisa Andrews assisted in delivering their baby boy – ten weeks before he was expected, and on top of Dallas Divide.

Elizabeth and Kyle Canfield had been vacationing in Telluride less than a day when Elizabeth,  29 weeks pregnant, began to feel ill.

“I chalked it up to altitude and dehydration,” she said, referring to the stomach cramps that woke her up early last week, on Tuesday, Aug. 14. She had also been battling what she thought was a stomach bug, and so eventually she and her husband paid a visit to the Telluride Medical Center, where she was admitted into the ER and given an IV.

The vomiting and other gastrointestinal symptoms subsided at the Medical Center, but the cramping became worse. Canfield noticed that the “cramps” were occurring closer and closer together, and it dawned on her that they may not be cramps after all, but rather the contractions of labor, although her baby wasn’t due until mid-October.

Canfield was put in an ambulance and headed to Montrose Memorial Hospital, but just past Placerville, she turned to Telluride EMT Lisa Andrews and said, “I think I’m going to have this baby in the ambulance.”

“At that point it really became apparent that she was in labor, and the wisest thing seemed to be to keep heading for Montrose,” Andrews said. Driver William Purdy picked up the speed, all the while keeping Canfield’s husband calm in the front seat of the ambulance.

As they approached the top of Dallas Divide, Canfield told Andrews she felt like she had to push; shortly thereafter, her water broke.

“I was really thinking I wanted to get to Montrose to stop the labor, but as soon as my water broke, I knew there was no stopping it,” Canfield said. Andrews asked Purdy to pull over, and quickly got her OB kit ready. With just one push the baby’s head crowned. Moments later, the rest of the baby was out, and to the relief of all, he was crying.

“The baby was breathing, which was the answer to any of our prayers,” Andrews said. The team discussed calling Life Flight, but determined the best course of action was to continue towards Montrose Memorial in the ambulance, during which time Andrews says her focus was on keeping the baby warm and continuing to monitor his breathing until they reached definitive care.

The ambulance stopped in Ridgway to pick up Ridgway Paramedic Ruth Stewart, who assumed care of the infant while Andrews continued to care for Canfield. Once they reached Montrose Memorial, the baby, named Lucas, was transported via ambulance to St. Mary’s Hospital in Grand Junction. He was admitted into the NICU, where he will remain until mid-October.

Canfield said although she was “scared to death,” Andrews did an excellent job of keeping her calm and coaching her through the delivery. Andrews, meanwhile, gives credit to Canfield, who she says remained “incredibly calm” throughout the high-intensity ambulance delivery.

Telluride EMS Chief Paramedic Emil Sante, observing that it isn’t every day an EMT has the opportunity to deliver a baby, called Andrews a “hero” for her role in safely delivering the premature infant. Andrews has been an EMT in Telluride for just over a year-and-a-half, and Sante said her poise during the experience was exceptional for a relatively new EMT.

Andrews says it was her training, but also her experience in delivering her own two children, now 26 and 22 years old, that helped guide her during the delivery of little Luke Canfield.

“I remember I needed it quiet and peaceful, so I could concentrate on what I was doing,” Andrews says of the birth of her own children, “so for her, really my focus was helping her birth the baby with as little anxiety as possible.”

Luke was 2.15 pounds and 15 inches long at birth. He has been gaining weight while in the NICU, and is now over three pounds. Canfield will spend the next eight or so weeks in Grand Junction while Luke stays in the NICU, getting assistance from her family, who will take turns traveling to Grand Junction from Houston.

“He’s improving, and we’re very, very, happy,” Canfield said of her first child.

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Patty Simpson
September 03, 2013
Luke just celebrated his first birthday. Almost 19 pounds, crawling and ready to walk! Happiest baby you will ever meet. We are so grateful to telluride EMTs and the NICU at St. Mary's in Grand Junction. We are proud and grateful grandparents

Patty and Tommy Simpson