Monday, June 23
PITTSFIELD — When Melissa Cook imagined giving birth, she pictured a sterile hospital room with a doctor and nurses clad in clean scrubs. What she got was a bathroom and firefighters climbing through the window.

Cook, 29, unexpectedly went into labor Saturday morning. By the time she was able to call 911, it was too late, and the baby was on her way.

"I have been having contractions for 10 weeks," Cook said yesterday while resting in the maternity ward at Berkshire Medical Center. "It was hard to know if I was really in labor."

She was. Cook awoke shortly after 5 a.m. and called the child's father, saying she needed to go to Mercy Medical Center in Springfield, where she had planned to have the baby. He told her to call 911.

As she was contemplating making the 50-mile drive on her own, Cook said, she felt the baby coming. She just had time to call 911 before the infant — a 4-pound, 5-ounce girl — was born.

"I didn't have to push. The contractions were pretty bad, but that's it," she said. "I can't believe it. I'm still in shock."

The commotion woke Cook's 4-year-old daughter, Kaleigh Lovato. "It was just me and her," Cook said. "She was freaking out. I was freaking out."

Cook was sitting in her bathroom, clutching her tiny newborn, when firefighters arrived. They knocked on the door, but Kaleigh was too frightened at first to go to the door.

The firefighters forced open a kitchen window and climbed in.


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They found the baby in good health, still attached to the umbilical cord, and rushed mother, child and Kaleigh into an ambulance and off to BMC.

Both mother and baby were doing well yesterday, but the early arrival meant that Cook had not yet chosen a name. She was debating between Ashley and Mariah.

When Cook's mother, Elaine, arrived at the hospital, she hugged her 4-year-old granddaughter. "I told her, 'I'm so proud of you. I can't believe you helped your mommy,' " she said. "Kaleigh said, 'Grandma, there was blood everywhere, and I was so scared. But it was fun!' "