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Hall County EMT delivers a miracle
Born on July 4th, little Bailee Rae was a first for one EMT
Hall County EMT Brandon Sullins feeds Bailee Rae Markuten while mother Devon Markuten looks on. Bailee came early so Sullins ended up delivering the baby in the back of his medical unit in the family’s driveway. - photo by Tom Reed

Sometimes having a baby makes you so excited you can’t sleep.

But what if you’re the one delivering the baby?

Hall County Fire Services Paramedic Brandon Sullins helped the Markutens on Weaver Road give birth to Bailee Rae on July 4. Afterward, he said he couldn’t sleep a wink after delivering a baby by himself for the first time.

“The guys were teasing me at the station because I was smiling from ear to ear as I typed up my report,” Sullins said. “We don’t often have the opportunity for happy endings.”

Devon Markuten didn’t realize she was having contractions before her water broke around midnight on Independence Day. She gave birth to her baby girl at 1:25 a.m. in her driveway.

“I thought I kept having gas pains because they were sporadic and would be six to 24 minutes apart,” she said. “But they got closer together around 11:30 at night, and I called my doctor because I was at 34 weeks, which was too early for contractions.”

Markuten moved between her bed and the bathroom several times when the pains kept her from sleeping. One time, she was brought to her knees in pain.

It was time to go to the hospital, she told her husband, Jeff.

“About midnight, our home phone rang and I got up to see who it was. I was in a fog, trying to figure out the caller ID and heard her in the bathroom,” he said. “She had called me on her cell phone to wake me up. She could feel the baby coming.”

He called 911, and the paramedics from Station 9, only miles from their house, were on their way as her water broke. She was standing in the shower when the men arrived with a stretcher and took her to the ambulance.

They wheeled her out of the front door, down the four steps from the front porch and a steep sidewalk to the driveway.

“I kept trying to keep it light because I have a funny character,” Sullins said. “I kept teasing her and saying it was too bad she wasn’t having a boy because she could name him after me.”

The paramedics checked Markuten’s vital signs in the ambulance, and she asked if the ambulance would be able to make it to Chestatee Regional Hospital in Dahlonega.

“I said, ‘Honey, you’ll be lucky enough to make it out of the driveway,’ and sure enough, she didn’t,” Sullins said.

Devon Markuten then felt intense pain, and Sullins said he could see the baby’s head.

“I was like ‘Push it back in; we’re not ready!’ and they delivered her right there,” she said with a laugh. “The EMT looked so stoked because he never gets to see fun stuff like that, and it was his first birth. He did a great job, but it was a scary experience.”

Jeff Markuten was loading the couple’s 21-month-old son, Zacharee, into his truck to go to the hospital when one of the paramedics handed him a pair of scissors.

“He asked me if I wanted to cut the cord for my little girl,” he said. “They had clamps on the cord in the ambulance, and that was that. I then followed them to the hospital.”

Sullins visited the hospital room in the morning, holding a stuffed Piglet and a card signed by all the paramedics from the night before.

“Winnie the Pooh is big at our house, so it’s odd he brought Piglet and didn’t know that,” Devon said. “They were very nice gentlemen.”

Jeff Markuten said he agreed.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything better. They were here in an instant — professional, calm and courteous,” he said. “I think they were as proud as I was, patting backs and shaking hands all around.”

Hall County Fire Services Chief Steve Kimbrell said delivering babies in the county happens more often than some may think.

“They deliver several times a year, and we see it as a common thing,” he said. “It’s great that people deliver and the paramedics can help them, but our guys do outstanding things all the time. We’re patting them on the back all the time.”
Sullins, who is expecting his own baby girl to arrive around Dec. 29, said family have joked that he should deliver his own child.

“I can’t do that, but I do wish I could deliver a baby every day,” he said. “For me it was easy, She (Devon) did all the work.”

Bailee came into the world at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and 19 inches long, but with some bruising on her face.

“When we first got to the hospital, her face had some black and blue on it, but we unwrapped her, and the rest of her body was pink,” Jeff Markuten said. “It was attributed to the bruising from such a rapid birth, but otherwise she’s doing fine.”

The family arrived home Tuesday to settle in, totting a special instrument to treat high levels of bilirubin, a compound that results from the natural breakdown of blood. It’s a common treatable condition that affects the majority of premature babies. The Markutens measure her levels and take her daily to Chestatee Regional Hospital.

“Her heart and lungs are fully developed, and she’s eating great,” Jeff Markuten said. “She’s sleeping well, and sometimes we even have to wake her to feed her.”

Sullins was able to hold Bailee Rae when he visited the family on Friday.

“She’s smiling at me! She’s beautiful,” he said. “I just feel sorry I was the first thing she saw in the world. At one in the morning, I was not at my best.”