Baby born in ambulance on Highway 36 last month
Leandra Johnston, 24, said she thought Noah was going to be born in the family’s orange Suburban. She and her husband Owen arrived at the intersection moments before the ambulance pulled up. The ambulance crew threw a blanket over her and helped her onto a gurney in the back of the rig.
“I kept telling them, ‘He’s coming. He’s coming. I can’t move.’ I pushed one more time and I told them, ‘I told you he was coming,’” she said.
Her husband and the emergency medical personnel were just closing the ambulance doors when Noah was born, weighing a healthy 7 pounds, 5 ounces and measuring 19-1/2 inches.
“My husband helped catch him and held him while they found their clamps and things,” she said. “I was fine. I actually felt really good after he was born.”
As a mother of three girls and a boy, aged 7, 6, and 5, with a baby who turns 1 today, Tuesday, Feb. 19, Johnston knew the signs of impending birth.
Experiencing labor pains off and on for more than a month, she had been doing laundry all day, she said, when hard labor pains started at about 6 p.m.
“They kicked in and it was time to go,” she said.
Her husband was driving her to town from their home on Karlo Road, in Secret Valley, about 20 miles north of Litchfield.
“My water broke about Leavitt Lake,” she said. “I told him when my water broke to call the ambulance. I knew from my last baby, the baby would come right behind that.”
When the couple arrived at the intersection, a sheriff’s patrol car was parked near Susanville Motors. The ambulance arrived just as Noah’s mother was preparing to give birth in the Suburban.
Leandra Johnston said friends have told her they figured out the baby had been born because they saw the orange Suburban and the ambulance on the highway, heard the ambulance call on the police scanner or saw the following report in the newspaper’s sheriff’s blotter.
The sheriff’s blotter item stated:
“At 7:58 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 5, a caller reported a woman was in labor on Highway 36 west of Susanville Motors. The CHP requested a deputy to provide traffic control. An ambulance arrived and emergency medical personnel helped the woman deliver a baby boy.”
Other friends found out about the event when someone called the local radio station with the news the day after Noah’s birth.
“A couple of our friends heard about it on the scanner that night,” she said. “A lot of people saw it in the paper and someone announced it on the radio. People that I’ve known they’re like, ‘Hey I thought that was you.’ We’re the only ones in town with an orange suburban.”
The Johnstons have only lived in the area for about a year, but when she was known as Leandra Wright, Noah’s mother attended Shaffer Elementary School from second to eighth grade.
Ten years ago, she was an Explorer at the Susanville Fire Department, where she knew one of the emergency medical technicians on the ambulance who helped deliver her baby.
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