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County’s first baby arrives by ambulance

Posted 2/02/16 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

On the evening of Wednesday, Jan. 20, Traci Cole and her significant other, Jimmy Royster, did not think they would  almost be delivering their new baby boy in the parking lot of a truck stop, let alone the back of an ambulance. But that is exactly what happened.
When her water broke, Cole and Royster loaded up in their truck with their three-year-old daughter, Saige, to head for the hospital in Williston. She knew she was going into labor and it wouldn’t be long before their new addition joined their little family.
“I was at the hospital the day before, because I was having contractions,” said Cole. “I said, ‘I’m not sure how long I’m going to make it once I go into labor.’ But they sent me back home. So when I started feeling contractions again, I knew it was time. We needed to head to the hospital and we needed to get there fast.”
Royster called 911 en route to the hospital from the truck and told the dispatcher that Cole was in labor and that they would be speeding to the hospital and needed an escort. The 911 dispatcher directed them to turn their hazard lights on and sent sheriff’s deputies to assist the family.
“Then I started feeling pressure,” stated Cole. “ I told Jimmy we needed to pull over because the baby was coming. He didn’t want to pull over on the side of the road, because it was foggy and snowy and didn’t want someone to hit us. So he pulled over into the Patriot Fuels parking lot.”
The deputies had caught up to the family and joined them in the parking lot. They laid a blanket down on the ground next to the truck and asked Cole to lay down on the blanket in preparation to give birth to a child that was ready to come out, whether his parents were ready or not.
“The funny thing is when the deputies asked me to take my pants off and lay down on the blanket, my three-year-old daughter was taking her pants off too!” exclaimed Cole. “The deputy asked her what she was doing and she told him that she was taking her pants off like her mommy. It was pretty funny.”
After Cole laid down on the blanket, the McKenzie County Ambulance crew showed up. Three crew members and a paramedic student loaded Cole into the back of the ambulance, and they headed for the hospital in Williston. They weren’t going to make it there before little, six-pound-10-ounce, Waylon James Royster, decided to make his entrance into the world.
Waylon was born at 1:12 a.m., on Thursday morning, Jan. 21, on U.S. Highway 85, just as the ambulance was passing the Enbridge tanks north of Alexander.
“I remember driving down the Indian Hill and thinking, oh great, I have to break going down this hill when there’s a brand new baby on board,” said Jen Starkel, one of the McKenzie County Ambulance crew members who was driving to the hospital. “That was probably right at Enbridge, before we got to Indian Hill. So the baby was actually born in McKenzie County on the way to the hospital.”
What is ironic about the entire situation is that just before Cole went into labor late Wednesday night, the ambulance crew members had been in a training all evening. Specifically, they were training on women in labor and what to do.
“So like two hours before my pager went off, I left class that night and said that I really wanted to deliver a baby,” stated Lynette Forbes-Johnston, a 25-year veteran with the McKenzie County Ambulance Service, and who was one of the crew members in the ambulance that night. “So when I heard the pager go off, I thought, Yes! We got this!”
And they literally did. Two of the crew members including Johnston-Forbes and Jon Rasmussen, along with paramedic student, Luke Stroh, delivered Waylon in the back of that ambulance. It was the first delivery for all of them, and the first one in an ambulance in McKenzie County, that anyone can remember.
“I was thinking of things we had just gone over in class,” said Stroh, “And then I thought, this is happening now - let’s do this!”
Waylon was actually born on his due date and was born healthy and happy. He was named after Waylon Jennings and shares the same birth date as Waylon Jennings’ son, Terry Jennings, who  Cole is friends with.
“I’m just so glad everything went great,” said Forbes-Johnston. “And I’m glad little Waylon is healthy.”