An Oakland couple today thanked three Oakland police officers who helped them successfully deliver a healthy baby boy under frantic conditions at a gas station Friday night.
Sitting near officers Charles Stone, Jeffhry Cid and Sean Bowling, Barry Miller, the boy's father, said, "These three guys always will be a blessing to me."
Kimberly Thomas, the boy's mother, said, "They're good people and I'm glad they were there."
Thomas said she and Miller named the boy Knowland because he was delivered at the Shell gas station at 9750 Golf Links Road, which is near the entrance to Knowland Park, the home of the Oakland Zoo.
Miller said the tense experience with the happy ending began Friday evening when he came home from his classes at a nearby barber school and Thomas, who wasn't due to give birth until Nov. 16, told him she "was hurting" and felt like she was going to have a baby.
He said he, Thomas and their 4-year-old son got into their Ford Explorer sports utility van and planned to drive to the Kaiser hospital in Oakland but after they'd only driven a short distance Thomas told him she didn't think she would make it to the hospital.
Miller said, "We made the decision to go the gas station" and he happened to see the three police officers, who were having a food break there.
He said, "I told the officers 'my wife is having a baby' and two or three minutes later my little one came out."
Fighting back tears at one point, Miller said, "I look at it as a blessing. He (Knowland) wouldn't be here if I had made a different decision."
Thomas said, "I'm glad he (Miller) didn't get on the freeway. Everything was crazy."
Miller and Thomas were in luck because Cid is a former registered nurse at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center.
Cid said Thomas "was in pain and was definitely uncomfortable" and after he noticed that she was having contractions two minutes apart he knew "the baby would come sometime soon."
Cid said the officers and Miller and Thomas didn't have any towels so he got some paper towels from the gas station and asked Miller to contribute his shirt.
The healthy, 7-pound, 9-ounce baby boy came out head first shortly after 6:30 p.m. Friday, Cid said.
"It was a great experience to go through," Cid said. It was a great night for everyone."
Stone said he, Cid and Bowling "were exactly in the right place at the right time." Stone said, "It was luck we were there when we needed to be there."
Stone said it was a cold night and he and the other officers helped keep Knowland warm until an ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital.
Joe Knowland, the grandson of former Oakland Tribune publisher and politician Joseph R. Knowland, joined Miller, Thomas and the baby boy who carries his name at a news conference at the Oakland Police Department's Eastmont substation today.
The three police officers gave the baby boy teddy bears and Police Chief Howard Jordan gave him a police badge.
"I hope he's a member of the police recruiting class of 2037, in 25 years," Jordan said.
Miller gave the officers a card that he said, "expresses our appreciation for everything you've done for us."