Dennis Webb

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December 4, 2006
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Baby born in bathtub while dad sleeps

RIFLE - Someday, Dorian Jacob Noffsinger may amuse himself by splashing around with rubber duckies and toy boats in his bathtub.At about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in that same tub, he made a splash of an entirely different sort.Dorian's mother, 22-year-old Rhonda Richardson of Rifle, was eight-months pregnant and having contractions, and went to take a bath to try to relax as her husband, Dustin Noffsinger, slept on the couch.Richardson's bath proved anything but relaxing. Instead, Dorian decided it was time to be born, and Richardson delivered him by herself. The only one doing any relaxing was Noffsinger."My husband slept all through it. I was screaming and yelling for him and he didn't wake up," she said.Both mother and baby - who was due Christmas Eve - are doing well after the unconventional birth. Somehow Noffsinger also is still in his wife's good graces and not consigned to sleep on the couch for life.

Richardson said he had been helping her a lot in the days before the birth when she wasn't feeling well, and is a heavy sleeper who was catching up on some badly needed rest. Besides, Noffsinger eventually heard his wife's screams. Dorian just didn't wait for him to wake up."It was really quick," Richardson said of Dorian's delivery. "It went by really fast, I would say about four or five pushes and he was out.""He was just ready, he was ready to come out of there," Noffsiger said. "I turned the corner, and she was sitting there holding her baby in her arms."When Dorian was born, he was still inside his amniotic sac, so his mom broke it with her fingernails and he immediately began crying as he drew his first breaths. She then began to clean him, and Noffsinger called 911 and wrapped both of them in towels to warm them. He and Richardson left it to the paramedics to cut the umbilical cord. Mother and son remained at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs through the week so doctors and nurses could keep an eye on the prematurely born Dorian, who weighed 4 pounds, 6 ounces at birth, Richardson said."He's improving, he's doing really good," she said.She and her son went home from the hospital Sunday.Richardson said doctors have since determined that she suffered from HELLP syndrome, a liver disorder that can occur during pregnancy, causing blood pressure to rise and potentially resulting in premature birth."They usually catch it as you're in labor or before but they hadn't caught it yet," she said.As a result, when she started having contractions and called the hospital she was advised to take medication to stop labor and to take a calming bath, rather than braving snowy roads that night to come in.

This was Richardson's first child. Noffsinger has a 5-year-old son, Colby, who was the first to hear his stepmom's screams Wednesday. Richardson said next time she probably would prefer to give birth in a hospital, but she just did what needed to be done."Honestly, you just kind of trust your instincts. A lot of it just came naturally," she said. "You know you need to push. With the sac cover over him, naturally your instinct would be to take it off the baby's face."

She and Noffsinger both wonder how he would have reacted had he arrived in the bathroom before Dorian arrived in the world."Maybe it was meant to be. I might have freaked out," Noffsinger said. Noffsinger said he didn't realize how much pain Richardson could tolerate. But he said she's a hard-working, highly responsible person. During her pregnancy she put in eight-hour shifts starting at 3:30 a.m. at the McDonald's restaurant in Rifle.Noffsinger said he's going to hear some grief about dozing through the event. A welder at Innovative Ironworks in Silt, he's already being teased by co-workers and friends."They asked me if I'm one of the Seven Dwarfs, if I'm Sleepy," he said.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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The VailDaily Updated Dec 4, 2006 01:34PM Published Dec 4, 2006 02:00AM Copyright 2006 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.