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A Rio Grande City woman gave birth Saturday morning inside a truck parked at the La Joya police station.
Officers helped deliver the 5 pound baby boy about 9:30 a.m., after Maria Serna began to go into labor while a neighbor was driving her to Mission Regional Medical Center.
Police officials said Serna and her newborn son, Felipe, were taken to the Mission hospital following the delivery and that both were doing “just fine.”
Serna told officers she wanted her baby to be born in Mission, though it wasn’t clear why.
“There was no sign of the ambulance,” La Joya police Chief Jose del Angel said. “We had to get her ready and into position.”
The chief pulled a towel from his truck to use for the delivery, and Officer Cesar Saenz covered the woman with del Angel’s raincoat to shield her from view at the heavily trafficked location just off U.S. Highway 83.
The chief captured the delivery on video.
“Is the baby crying?” he asks in the recording. A few seconds later, the child screams for the first time as ambulances wail in the background.
“You should go into the medical field,” the chief tells fellow officer Lt. Julian Gutierrez, who is the first to hold the child.
Gutierrez swaddles the infant in the chief’s towel and hands him to Serna.
“How do you feel being a new mother?” the chief asks her.
“It feels great to be the mother of a little boy,” she responds, beaming.
Later, Gutierrez reflected on the challenge of maintaining his cool while under pressure.
“I kept thinking I’ve got to keep calm,” he said. Although the woman told police she wanted the baby to be born in Mission, “we just had to let nature take its course.”
Gutierrez, who has two daughters, said he was nervous the child would suffocate if he didn’t perform well.
“I freaked out,” he said. “But then my instincts kicked in.”
When the ambulance arrived, emergency medical technicians cut the infant’s umbilical cord, said Joe Cantu, a spokesman with the La Joya Police Department.
“We’re not trained medical staff,” Cantu said. “But we’re trained to expect the unexpected, and the unexpected happened.”