Like mother, like daughter
VICTOR — Alex Zepkowski had heard the stories before. But it couldn’t happen with her, or could it?
Zepkowski’s mother, Arlene McDonald, went into labor quickly 29 years ago. So quickly, in fact, that she ended up giving birth to daughter Alex in their home, with the assistance of a friend and her mother while her husband, who was a volunteer firefighter for Farmington, rushed home as he heard the call come in over the radio. Adding to family lore is that McDonald’s sister once gave birth on the side of the road on her way to the hospital.
But the first two Zepkowski boys, Tucker, 9, and Graysen, 6, were born traditionally, although they did come quickly. And Zepkowski had no reason to think otherwise with her and husband Curt’s third child, who was supposed to arrive a bit later on this month.
But at 1:19 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, Kohen Remy Zepkowski — all 8 pounds, 4 ounces and 20 inches long of him — came into the world in their home, about a week and a half early and with only a 30-minute time window from when labor started.
And yes, Zepkowski’s parents — dad called 911 and mom helped deliver — were there to help.
“He just wanted to join us Earth-side,” Zepkowski said, laughing. “He was ready.”
The birth happened so fast that by the time an ambulance from Honeoye Falls arrived — a Victor Farmington Ambulance was on another call, but its fly car did show up — joined by Fishers first responders and two Ontario County sheriff’s deputies, Kohen was there to greet them.
“It was a full house,” Zepkowski said. “I think they were all surprised that he was already here by the time they got here. They were all awesome helps.”
Curt Zepkowski, who is a dispatcher with the Ontario County 911 system, remembered a conversation he and his wife had about him going to work that night after he asked her if she thought it was going to happen.
“She said, ‘Go to work. It’s not going to happen,’” he said. “An hour into work I got a call from her.”
At first, the plan was to meet up at the hospital. But on his way, a co-worker tipped him off that he’d better head home.
“I was not so much nervous but excited,” he said. “Now that he’s here, I would say blessed. The boys are big brothers, the way we figured they would be.”
And helpful big brothers at that. Sometimes they burp their baby brother and sometimes they even help change him. Most times, they snuggle with and hold him.
“Because I like to,” said Graysen, who woke up that morning in time to see his new brother and mother head off to the hospital. “And to be nice.”
“He’s so cute,” said Tucker, who was excited to hear he was born at home. “It’s funny when he cries.”
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Zepkowski was not allowed visitors while in the hospital. And there were no traditional celebration gatherings, such as a baby shower, in the days leading up to the big day.
But the two boys were able to use Facetime to check on their mother and baby brother while they were in the hospital, which was nice, she said.
“It’s definitely an odd time,” she said.
Curt, who in the past has fielded calls leading up to the birth but not an actual delivery, was to return to work Monday, rejoining colleagues Matthew Speers, who took the call from the Zepkowski home originally, and Sabrina Maio-Kissell, who dispatched the call for emergency medical service.
And now the family has their own “Can you believe it?” birth story to share.
“A family full of good stories,” Zepkowski said.