“This is something I never thought of,” said Lucas, a three-year-experienced lifeguard at an indoor swimming pool with the Young American Christian Association (YMCA) in Colorado.
Tessa Rider, an atomic nuclear engineer, and her husband, Matthew Jones, a software engineer, went to swim in the pool where Lucas was on duty on July 24. Ms. Rider was nine months pregnant with her third child, and a daily swim was necessary to cool off from the sweltering summer heat.
Rider then experienced some mild contractions, but “did not show any obvious signs of childbirth”. “During the last days of pregnancy, my wife was very uncomfortable and only felt comfortable in the water,” Jones, 29, shared.
It was a very hot morning, and Rider recalled how relaxing it was to get in the water and asked her husband to pass the lifebuoy. But in the next 30 seconds, she began to feel pain and immediately told her husband to get his things, to meet him in the parking lot.
However, as soon as he stepped out of the tank, Rider fell to his knees and broke his water. “Nothing can stop the baby from being born,” she recalls that moment.
Lucas, the only lifeguard on duty, immediately ran over and saw Jones rubbing his wife’s back, phone in hand, dialing 911. “She’s about to give birth!”, Jones told Lucas, in when the 18-year-old girl clearly showed surprise on her face.
Before he could connect to the 911 operator, Jones saw his son’s head start to appear, causing him to panic enough to throw the phone away. Lucas got into action, she immediately grabbed a towel and an emergency kit, used the walkie-talkie to communicate with other staff members, and asked a man swimming in the pool to call an ambulance.
While Rider screamed and tried to push, about 10 people watched, not believing their eyes. Jones knelt behind his wife, Lucas also tried to make sure Rider was as comfortable as possible during the birth.
“I sponsor her, while Mr. Jones supports his wife,” Lucas said. “I stay calm, don’t let myself panic, because that’s the nature of this job. I’m a lifeguard whose job it is to save people’s lives.”
The birth takes place in just a few minutes. “But it felt like time had stopped,” Jones said.
His son, Tobin Thomas Rider, was born healthy and had his first cry in his mother’s womb. “I held him, wanting to keep him as warm as possible,” said Rider.
At that time, Lucas sat next to Rider’s back, helping the mother keep her position while holding her child. The ambulance arrived shortly after.
The couple say Lucas reacted quickly and calmly. “We are so grateful that Lucas was a part of my son’s birth moment,” Jones said.
“She fulfills her role perfectly, and is very sweet to us,” said Rider. “I’m glad Lucas is with us.”
For his part, Lucas thinks the experience is profound. “I’m glad the baby is safe, they now have a new member in the family. I’m really happy to help them,” she said, adding that she plans to send Tobin an annual birthday card. .
As a lifeguard, Lucas is trained to prevent death, but in this case, she helped welcome a new life. During his lifeguard training, Lucas learned how to perform CPR, first aid and first aid in emergencies, but delivery is not part of the program.
“I’ve saved a few kids over the years, but there’s never been one like it,” said Lucas, a high school graduate and a freshman criminal justice student at San Diego State University.
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