News & Politics

Capitol Police Helped Deliver a Baby Next to a Senate Office Building. Here’s What It Was Like.

"I’m pretty sure the EMT and I fist-bumped afterwards."

Capitol Police officers helped deliver a baby on Wednesday morning in front of Hart Senate Office Building, greeting one of the Capitol Complex’s youngest visitors yet. Captain Carneysha Mendoza and K-9 Technician Jacqueline Yaniga were among the officers on the scene. We spoke with them about the experience. 

Can you walk me through the morning and what happened after you got the call? 

Carneysha Mendoza: One of our officers at Second and Constitution Avenue, Northeast put out over the radio that there was a lady in labor. Upon walking to the vehicle and having a conversation with the mother and the baby’s now grandmother, I learned that her contractions were about a minute apart. At that moment, I pretty much knew the baby was coming. A couple minutes later, her water broke and I called for additional assistance.

Jacqueline Yaniga: I heard Captain Mendoza say [over the radio] the water broke and the head was crowning. She asked for any medic Capitol Police. I am a fire trained EMT, but I responded to see if I could help. I started to assess the woman in labor and DC fire arrived. We had the mom push, the baby came out, and the dad was on the scene, so we had dad cut the cord. 

Did you ever expect this to be something you had to do on the job?

Yaniga: As an EMT I’ve been trained in it, but never actually done it. I volunteered in Fairfax County for a number of years and never had to deliver a baby. Other than this, it’s been a textbook, reading about it. I was actually reading the [textbook] when Captain Mendoza put out the call, so I thought, “worst case you could pull the book out on the chapter for pregnancy and childbirth and get through it that way.”

What was it like for you to be on the scene?

Mendoza: To be honest, I was a little nervous. I’m used to responding to critical incidents, which is what we train for most. We do some medical training, but use the training for mainly critical incidents. I was very nervous about the situation.

Yaniga: For lack of a better term, I was pumped. I was like, “the baby is coming, we’re bringing the baby out, and it’s going to be amazing.” I’m pretty sure the EMT and I fist-bumped afterwards. We were super excited. It was an amazing experience! The baby was birthed in this car, and we helped. It’s a healthy, beautiful baby girl. It was great.

How was the mother throughout this? 

Mendoza: I’m not sure she had time to be nervous. The main thing was communicating with her and reminding her to breathe. Then, this beautiful baby girl just made her entry into the world, and it was an awesome experience.

What was it like after you had a chance to process?

Mendoza: I’ve already gotten a lot of calls and text messages, because when something goes over the radio like that, all the officers here are like, “whoa!” It took a while for it to settle in, for me to understand what happened. I was like, “wow, you just helped deliver a baby.” I never thought that could happen in my life. Everybody was happy, and everybody was excited—it was an emotional event. 


Editorial Fellow

Keely recently graduated with her master’s in journalism from American University and has reported on local DC, national politics, and business. She has previously written for The Capitol Forum.