Special Assignment

Whitefish Bay dad forced to deliver breech baby at home

CREATED Nov 13, 2012 - UPDATED: Nov 13, 2012

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  • Video by wtmj.com


WHITEFISH BAY- With a baby on the way, parents typically have a birthing plan ready. But what happens when things go wrong?

In this case things went very wrong, leaving Russell Sagmoen with the daunting task of delivering a miracle. The 9-1-1 call is chilling.

9-1-1 dispatch: "Hello? Whitefish Bay?"
Sagmoen: "Uh, my wife's in labor. Her water broke and she said something's not right."

Babies are supposed to be born in hospitals by a doctor, not on bathroom floors by a father.

"Yeah, two weeks until her due date...We are supposed to go to Sinai. Uh oh! Baby's coming! Baby's coming! Oh ****! It's breech! It's breech!" describes Sagmoen to a 9-1-1 dispatcher.  "Yeah, there's a foot!" (Wife screams in background)...There's a foot! There's a foot! What do I do? What do I do?"

TODAY'S TMJ4 sat down with Sagmoen.  The whole ordeal took place in the early hours on Friday, November 9.

"At 2:26 in the morning, I called the hospital and said 'hey we are coming and we are going to have an emergency c-section,'" he remembers.

With two weeks to go, their baby girl had not turned.  So when his wife's water broke he knew what was supposed to happen next; it wasn't this.

"Not even 30 seconds later, I look and Emily goes down on the floor of the bathroom and said it's coming it's coming!" says Sagmoen.

Sagmoen on 9-1-1 call: "(Wife screams in background)"
9-1-1 dispatch: "Can you turn it at all?"
Sagmoen: "Put your leg up! Put your leg up! Put your leg up! Hold on! Hold on... It's coming out, right now... Send an ambulance!" (Wife screams in background) Okay. Push!"

Sagmoen married his high school sweet heart, Emily.  Together since they were 15-years-old, he never thought he may have to save her life or their baby's.

"It had to be done, it's your own daughter and your wife.  And you are thinking that you are going to lose your daughter or your wife, you know?" says Sagmoen.

Their two-year-old, Hendrick, was in his room.  Awaken by his mother's cries, he too was crying.

"I couldn't hear anything," Sagmoen recalls. "I threw the phone to the side and just worked on getting the baby. I got both feed lined up and she was coming foot first."

Sagmoen on 9-1-1 call: "Push! Push! Push! Push! Push! Push! Push! Push! (Wife screams in background)"

And then, the 9-1-1 call goes to silence.  A few long moments later, "She's not breathing. She's not breathing!" says Sagmoen.

9-1-1 dispatch: "Okay. I'm getting help as soon as I can to you. Okay, sir?"
Sagmoen: "Okay."

The entire birth happened in just 10 minutes. No time to get to the hospital, no time to get help.

"As soon as she came out she was blue and she wasn't breathing. So I laid her on Emily's chest to get the skin to skin contact and we were both kind of 'breathe breathe,'" remembers Sagmoen.

"It's like I don't even remember it, to be honest," says Emily Sagmoen. "Thankfully everything turned out okay."

Baby Elsa took her first breaths while laying on her mothers chest, with her father patting her on the back.

"She coughed a little bit and took a real faint cry. That's when I looked at my phone and it was 2:35 in the morning," says Sagmoen.

"I knew we should be at the hospital. I knew we shouldn't be at home. But we had no choice," says Emily.

They are now a happy family of four.  And it all started with two high school sweet hearts.  After this experience, they are closer than ever.  The whole ordeal is bringing a new meaning for "daddy's little girl".

"I think they've developed a little bond as well, a little special bond," says Emily.