By Katina Caraganis
LUNENBURG -- The Mabon children of Lunenburg sure know how to make an entrance.
In 2010, Laurel Mabon gave birth to daughter Gracie Mae aboard an Ayer ambulance while being rushed to the hospital. Last month, Mabon didn't even make it that far, giving birth at home.
"This has been such an amazing ride for us," said Laurel during an interview at her home this week. "I never thought in a million years we'd have a birth like this after what we went through with Gracie."
Pregnant with her third child in April, Mabon thought she had at least another week before giving birth. When she started feeling contractions in the early-morning hours of April 22 -- two weeks before her due date -- she knew something was wrong.
Mabon called her husband Scott's mother, who lives in Chelmsford, to watch their two youngest children in case they needed to get to the hospital.
There wouldn't be time for that.
Within minutes, Mabon felt her water break. Scott called 911, and the dispatcher asked if he could see the baby's head crowning. He could.
"It was just one of those moments you can never really prepare yourself for," Scott said Tuesday afternoon while holding newborn baby Callen.
A veterinarian technician by profession, Scott said he had some idea of what do. Still, his training could not fully prepare him for delivering a baby.
"Obviously, it's not quite the same thing, but I had a basic, general idea," he said.
The Mabons also had the assistance of Lisa Melnicki, a Lunenburg police officer who arrived at their home in the middle of the birth.
"She was just great," said Laurel. "When she first walked in, I could see her face just go completely white, but after getting over the initial reaction, she stepped right in. She took my hand and just was there for the whole thing."
The Mabons never even got Melnicki's name.
Three years ago Mabon's pregnancy had a similar plot line.
A week before her due date, Laurel started having contractions that almost immediately spiked in intensity and frequency. With Scott behind the wheel of the family car, the pair began their trek to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for delivery.
The couple didn't make it far, however. Driving down Route 2A approaching the Shirley/Ayer line, the contractions became unbearable. While driving, Scott dialed 911.
A Shirley dispatcher advised them to continue on Route 2A to its intersection with Main Street where the Ayer Fire Station is located. They were told fire personnel would be waiting for them.
Laurel was loaded into an ambulance and headed to Leominster Hospital when paramedics could see the baby's head crown. Laurel pushed.
Within a mile of the hospital, Gracie was born in the back of the ambulance. While the couple isn't planning on having any more children, they said they are glad to have these stories to share with their kids as they get older.
Laurel suffered a fracture in her pelvis during the home birth and contracted an infection in her arm where she was administered an IV. Otherwise, she said her family is doing better than can be expected, given the circumstances.
Laurel was discharged after spending four days in the hospital, but Callen just came home this past weekend, she said, because of respiratory problems.
The couple have plans to renovate their current two-bedroom home to accommodate their whole family, but for now Callen is sleeping with the happy parents.
Follow Katina Caraganis on Twitter @kcaraganis.