Osceola County responders help celebrate first birthday of baby born prematurely

REED CITY — A year ago, Meghan Witt experienced the most terrifying night of her life when her placenta erupted, leading to her son, Zayden, making his very early entrance into the world.

On Sunday, Witt celebrated her miracle son’s first birthday party at Roth Street Park in Reed City, surrounded by family and friends. She also was able to do something she'd waited months to do — meet and thank some of the local medical and fire/rescue personnel who came to her aid.

“There’s so much excitement to be able to celebrate his birthday,” Witt said. “I’m just glad he’s here today. I’m so grateful. They are the heroes. If they wouldn’t have gotten to me in time, I don’t think Zayden or I would be here, especially Zayden.”

July 31, 2014, was just a regular day for Witt, who was 25 weeks pregnant. Around midnight that evening, she was watching TV, her mother and boyfriend both working and her step-father asleep in his room. Then, the normal-seeming day took a dramatic turn.

Witt got up to get a glass of water and realized she was bleeding — a lot.

“I’m a nurse and when I got home, I knew something drastic had happened because of the amount of blood,” said Pam Thorpe, Witt’s mom. “You couldn’t get anywhere throughout the house without stepping in it.”

Panicked and unsure what was happening to her, Witt called 911. Within minutes, Osceola County EMS and Reed City Fire and Rescue units were on scene at the house on 230th Avenue in Paris.

Witt was soon loaded into the ambulance and on the way to Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital. Once there, doctors prepped her for an emergency C-section. At 1:18 a.m. on Aug. 1, 2014, Zayden was born, weighing 1 pound and 9 ounces and measuring at 12.5 inches long.

When he was wheeled into her room in his incubator, Witt was nearly speechless.

“I didn’t know what to think,” she said. “He’s my first child and I was so scared. Part of me thought he was so cute and tiny, but it also was horrifying.”

Zayden was sent to Helen Devos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where he remained for four months. Today, Zayden is a healthy, happy 1-year-old with a smile to melt any heart, something Osceola County EMS paramedic Kelby Klassen is thankful to see.

Klassen and Reed City Fire and Rescue members who helped Witt that night were in attendance on Sunday for Zayden’s birthday festivities.

Because of privacy rules and regulations, it’s not very often Klassen and his co-workers get to know the outcome for a patient after dropping them off at the hospital, he said.

“We knew he was very premature, but we didn’t know the outcome for a while afterward,” Klassen said. “It’s nice to be able to be here today to see him and see he’s a healthy little boy and he’s doing well. These things are what make my job worthwhile.”

Witt and her family are grateful for all the tremendous care received from the paramedics, fire and rescue members, doctors and specialists, she said.

Although most of her experience was a blur, Witt does remember one thing.

“Throughout the entire ordeal, one of them was holding my hand. I don’t know which one it was, but when they took me to the hospital the guy was still holding my handing and asking if I was OK,” she said. “I’ll never forget that.”

And while Zayden definitely doesn’t have any memory from his emergency birth, he received a special present from the local heroes who worked to save both his and his mother’s life — his very own fire and rescue t-shirt.