When nine-month pregnant Brittany Duperre, of Columbia, woke up her husband at 2:45 a.m. on Election Day, she didn't imagine she'd be welcoming her first daughter into the world on her bathroom floor.
"I thought we still had time to get to the hospital and that I would have a quick delivery once I got there, but as the minutes kept rolling I realized we weren't going to make it," a smiling Duperre said Thursday — surrounded by Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue services responders at Rivers Park Fire Station, where she and her husband had gone to thank the responders who helped with the baby and who took the parents and newborn to the hospital. "It all happened so fast."
Brittany's husband, Joseph, said his wife was calm when she woke him. But he admitted his emotions turned quickly after he returned upstairs from placing the hospital bag in the car to find his wife on all fours on the bathroom floor.
"I'm sure I was freaking out and panicking a little bit," Joseph said, chuckling. "She told me, 'It's time, the baby's coming.' So I called 911."
As the dispatcher began dictating delivery instructions, Joseph said, it didn't quite set in that he would be the one to deliver his second child.
"It's not really clicking in my head yet, and I'm thinking, can you send someone to help me here?" Joseph said. "But eventually I realized; OK, this is going to happen."
Brittany recalls her water breaking around 3 a.m., right around the time her husband dialed 911. Eleven minutes later, a healthy seven-pound, one-ounce Adrienne Iris Duperre was welcomed into the world.
"I was shocked and in disbelief," Brittany said Tuesday, as Adrienne slept soundly by her feet.
She said that initial shock gave way to relief as she watched emergency responders come walking through the bathroom door.
"I was so happy to see them. I knew, at that point, were all taken care of," Brittany said.
HCDFRS firefighter and EMT Bart Albrecht, who was one of the first to arrive, said he recalls turning the corner and seeing Brittany with little baby Adrienne sitting peacefully on her lap.
"The hard part was done, the baby was already out," Albrecht said.
Approximately 15 minutes after Adrienne was born, responders were on their way to the hospital along with mom, dad and Adrienne.
HCDFRS Lieutenant Dan Dushanko said this is the second delivery this crew has responded to in the past two years, as the same group helped deliver a baby in Elkridge in 2011.
Dushanko, who has been a member of HCDRS for 18 years, said he has been dispatched to four births, an unusually high for an emergency responder.
"We knew this was not going to be a regular maternity call where we transport the mother to the hospital," Dushanko said. "We knew the baby was coming."
Dushanko said, compared to the other four calls, the Duperres were very calm.
"They are usually more chaotic," Dushanko said. "We usually have to reassure the parents that we are trained, but their assurance in us was very calming."
Amid all the activity, Joseph and Brittany, who was released from the hospital yesterday, were not able to get down to the polls and vote.
"We had our voters registration cards in hand, we had them with use in the hospital, but there were more important things," Joseph said. "I'm usually critical of people who choose not to vote, but there are excuses that work. This is one of them."
At the fire station, the Duperres presented the responders with tickets to the 19th annual Symphony of Lights festival, courtesy of Howard County General Hospital.
"It's a story that we are going to be able to tell Adrienne for the rest of her life. It's really special, it's something we are always going to remember." Joseph said.
However, he added: "It's not ideal, I would recommend people try to get to the hospital."