Depending on how you look at it, the first call of officer Gary Gray's daytime shift was either the perfect way to start the day or the perfect way to end it.
Gray, a Simsbury Police Officer since 2001, was returning for a shift change at the end of an overnight shift providing extra coverage following Hurricane Sandy. Gray was ending one shift and starting a second when police dispatch received a call and he happened to be nearby.
When Gray arrived at the Simsbury home, he met a man outside the home. Inside the man's wife was having a baby.
With over 35 years of experience working as both a professional firefighter in the city of Waterbury and as a sworn police officer, Gray, 59, had the training and experience that was needed at 7:25 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The woman was already having contractions when Gray arrived.
"She said 'I think the baby is coming,'" Gray said. And at that moment she began to have a contraction. Gray laid her on the floor near where she was sitting and began to deliver the baby while waiting for help to arrive.
Gray's training and experience was exactly what she needed early that morning. Although this would be his first time delivering a child on his own, Gray has been a part of 10 childbirths over the years. Gray also participates in annual training programs to prepare him for scenarios just like this.
"This was her second birth, and mom was great," Gray said.
It wasn't all that easy, however, when the baby started to come out and Gray realized it was still inside the amniotic sack. Gray knew exactly what to do and quickly used a scalpel to open the sack. When the baby emerged it wasn't breathing. Gray began to use suction to try to get the newborn breathing.
"When he came out her complexion was extremely dark. I started to get nervous," the veteran officer and firefighter said.
"I just kept suctioning and at one point his mouth just opened wide," Gray said. "His color came back immediately."
Moments later paramedics and additional police officers arrived at the home.
"The baby started crying, they were happy, she seemed healthy," Gray said.
The mother had given birth to a healthy, baby boy right there in her home.
"She was great. We brought the gurney in and she didn't even want it. She walked right out."
Captain Nicholas Boulter said the situation couldn't have gone better. The mother and baby were both healthy when they arrived at the hospital.
"He did an excellent job," Boulter said. "The paramedics even called from the hospital to commend him."
Following a dramatic end to his first half of an 18-hour shift, Gray returned home to change and head back to work.
"It was a good start to the day," Gray said. "Life is great but it's even better when you can watch it begin."