Woman gives birth to a baby girl at the Syracuse zoo, staff helped with delivery

It was just after 11:00 on Friday morning when Rosamond Gifford Zoo Educator Liz Schmidt heard over the radio that a woman had gone into labor not far from the penguin exhibit. Schmidt is also a trained first responder but as she ran towards the woman's location, Schmidt was just expecting to help the woman get comfortable until the ambulance arrived.

"Sometimes people go 12 hours, 24 hours in labor so I was like, let me go check this out. And I was sort of jogging and I see there was panic in the group and I was like all right - let's get into this thing," said Schmidt.

Less than five minutes after Schmidt arrived, the woman's water broke. With Rural Metro Ambulance service on the phone, Schmidt found herself delivering the baby with help from fellow zoo educator Sarah Kohler and staff member John Moakler. The 21 year old mother had been on a tour of the zoo with a group - a tour she will now likely never forget.

"The mother was remarkably calm, said Kohler. "Me and Liz kind of gave each other an exchange when we saw the baby take it's first breath - it was kind of heart taking."

Zoo staff say the woman didn't speak english but did express her gratitude for their help before she got into an ambulance. Zoo director Ted Fox said he was proud of how his staff kept calm during the delivery and he hopes the newborn girl will make her second trip to the zoo as soon as she is ready.

"Although many children would like to say they were born at the zoo, not many can and we're putting together a care package for the family," said Fox.

Rural Metro Ambulance spokesperson Melissa Fleischmann said both the mother and the newborn daughter were in good condition when the ambulance arrived at the hospital.

The birth "went as smoothly as can be imagined for an outdoor birth," said Fleischmann.

The mother was discharged from Crouse Hospital on Sunday, according to officials at Crouse Hospital.