ASHBORO -- One local grandmother recently had an unforgettable experience when her great-granddaughter was born.
Kathy Swearingen, Clay City, usually wakes up at 4 a.m., for her shift as a Clay County dispatcher; however, she awoke earlier Thursday morning when her granddaughter, Ashley Swearingen, went into labor.
At 3:30 a.m., the two women headed for Terre Haute, but while on State Road 59, Ashley's water broke. Kathy pulled into a gas station at the intersection of State Roads 46 and 59 and delivered the baby, her great-granddaughter -- Skylar Swearingen.
"I worked EMS for 31 years, and there is nothing more precious in the whole world than to see a baby take it's first breath," Kathy said.
Skylar was Kathy's fifth delivery. However, she said this one was definitely the most special.
"There is nothing more moving that you'll ever experience," Kathy said. "It's an indescribable experience."
Fortunately, Kathy had some help, as Indiana State Excise Police Lt. Christopher Bard saw the scene when driving home after his shift.
While driving by the gas station, Bard noticed a car with its passenger door open and a person kneeling down near the passenger's lap.
"I think he was as surprised about the whole thing as I was," Kathy said. "I think he thought we were doing something we shouldn't be."
Kathy tried to take her shoelace out of her shoe for tying off the umbilical cord, but was unable to do so. Bard crawled into the driver's seat to the hold Skylar while Kathy used a knife he had to cut the shoestring. She then cut the umbilical cord and tied off the baby's end with the shoelace.
"He was wonderful help," Kathy said of Bard. "Bless his heart."
Kathy, Ashley and Skylar went to Union Hospital, Terre Haute, escorted by Bard.
Skylar was born with no complications at 4:04 a.m. -- 6 pounds, 14 ounces and 20 inches long.
The experience is sure to be unforgettable for not only the Swearingen family, but also Bard.
Although excise officers normally deal with the enforcement of alcohol and tobacco laws, they are also trained to provide emergency assistance.
"Helping a new baby come into the world is a great way to end a shift," Excise Police Superintendent Matt Strittmatter said in a press release. "I am glad the mother and child are doing well, and I am certain this will be an event that Lt. Bard will always remember."