The GreyStone Power lineman left his Villa Rica home the morning of Jan. 31, lunch box packed, ready for the day’s work. His wife Jennifer was pregnant, but wasn’t due for another 11 days. But early in the afternoon he started receiving text messages from her saying she was having contractions every five to seven minutes.
It was 1 days before the due date, but Copeland had one of those “gut feelings.”
“Something just told me I needed to go home,” he said.
Copeland left work at 3:20. By 3:50 he was home. By 4:10 he had a new baby daughter.
“I got home and my 2-year-old daughter, Aspen, and I were unpacking my lunch box,” Copeland said. “My wife told me when I got home we were going to the hospital. She was in the bed saying that she was hurting.”
Jennifer realized things were progressing faster than expected. With no hope of making it to Austell’s Wellstar Cobb Hospital in time, she got on the floor and told Shane the baby was coming.
“I actually laid towels down, and after she started coming out, I called 911 and put the operator on speaker phone,” he said. “She walked me through it.”
Where some husbands might get nervous or scared, Copeland stayed calm. He was trained through his job as a lineman how to handle emergencies.
“With what I do for a living, they teach us to be calm in emergency situations,” Copeland said. “When we pull up on a 911 call, or a car has hit a pole, I’m a lineman. They teach us, ‘don’t get yourself hurt trying to get someone else out of danger.’”
The family’s dog stayed calm too, sitting patiently by Copeland the entire time. Aspen wasn’t quite as collected — she began screaming as her mother started screaming.
Copeland held his baby girl’s head as she came into the world. A pair of sneakers on the floor became a medical tool as the 911 operator had him untie the shoes and knot the laces around the umbilical cord, allowing the baby to breathe on its own.
“It didn’t take more than two minutes for her to come out,” said Copeland. Firefighters arrived soon after, wiped off baby Palin, clamped the umbilical cord and said everything looked good.
“As far as having a home birth, it went as smooth as it could,” Copeland said. “It could have been worse. She could have been breech or had an umbilical cord tied around her neck.”
The family did head to the hospital that night, with Jennifer up and walking around that same evening. The Copelands don’t plan to have any more kids, but if so, Jennifer said she’d have it natural.
“When we had our first baby Jennifer was induced, and she was all doped up and couldn’t do anything that night,” Copeland said. “At the moment it was bad, but afterward it was a lot easier.”
The following night the family was back at home. It wasn’t until hours later that what had just happened sank in.
“We just couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Shane. “It was like something you’d see on the news or on TV.”