Deurell family including baby delivered at home visit with first responders from Merrimack

he baby girl, Elsa Sheibani Deurell, now 2 months old and weighing 11 pounds, said nothing. She just smiled.

It was the baby’s parents, Dr. Shideh Sheibani Deurell, 40, and Dr. Erik Deurell, 46, along with the baby’s sister, Parisa, 2, who recently said thanks to the professionals who helped deliver the newborn at the Deurell’s home.

The Merrimack Fire and Rescue staffers who attended to the home delivery include Lt. Shawn Farrell, firefighter/paramedic John Chisolm, firefighter/paramedic Jeremy Pennerian and firefighter Keith Hines. Merrimack police detective Chris Dowling, who helped calm the mom during the birth, was also there.

When it happened, there was no time to go to the hospital. The parents, both local pediatricians, called 911 when a sudden spate of cramps turned a sometime-soon expectation into a here-and-now emergency.

The parents expressed their gratitude on Feb. 4 at a reunion held at Fire Station 1 on Daniel Webster Highway. They thanked those who hurried to the family’s Merrimack home early in the morning, around 7:30 a.m. Friday, Dec. 6.

The team assisted in the at-home delivery of Elsa Sheibani Deurell, who was born on the floor of the living room. She was 20 inches long and weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces. It was mom’s decision to move off the family’s couch.

Firefighter/paramedic John Chisolm, a father of two, eased the new baby into the world. He held the little girl again at the reunion. Elsa smiled once more as her tiny fingers reached for his face, or, more likely, his glasses.

“I’ve delivered one other in Merrimack, eight or nine years ago,” Chisolm said.

He gently swayed, side to side, as he cradled the pink-clad bundle.

“It’s definitely always exciting,” Chisolm added. “It’s one of those very rewarding experiences. And it’s always interesting to see how very different the baby looks, just a short time later.”

Doctor Mom said the team went about their work in a very professional and gentle manner.

“They were fabulous,” she said to all assembled. “Thank you so much. I didn’t panic at all. I would not have been so calm but for their talking to me. As a parent, you can’t think like a doctor.”

Assistant Fire Chief Brian Borneman, based at Fire Station 1, said the adventure began with a 911 call announcing an imminent childbirth. A crew was dispatched with an ambulance from Fire Station 2 at 196 Naticook Road.

“The father said this (childbirth) is happening, right now,” Borneman said. “They went in and delivered in the living room, approximately six minutes after they arrived.”

Merrimack’s Fire Chief Michael Currier notes on the department’s website that the Merrimack Fire and Rescue Department is an all-hazards fire department that responds to all types of calls. Its mission is to protect life, property and the environment for all in the community.

“I’ve heard many times that our personnel are second to none,” Currier said. “I’m so proud of all our people. We spend a lot of time training and working with the public. The public is our customer.”

Borneman opened his hand to give the mom several enameled lapel pins, each emblazoned with the image of a stork.

They are department souvenirs, traditionally given to crews who help bring a baby into the world. The mom thanked each of the men as she pinned a stork upon the collar of every one who participated in the baby’s birth.

There also were gifts for the baby’s big sister, Parisa. She was given a child-sized fire helmet. She wore the hat as she and her dad were led on a tour the fire station. She said she liked seeing the big, red fire trucks in the adjoining bays.

Baby Elsa’s mom opted to stay in the warm office. She accepted another gift, a pink tee imprinted with the words, “Future Merrimack Firefighter.” Why the baby smiled at that moment, no one knew.

Officer Dowling, sporting a stork pin on his collar, noted at the reunion how healthy the baby girl looks. He had remained at the home on the day of her birth until the mom and the baby, reclining skin-to-skin to begin the bonding process, were ensconced in the ambulance.

Dad and Parisa soon made their way to the emergency room at Elliot Hospital in Manchester where mom and baby received care. Dad said the responders who came to the home handled the call with a high degree of professionalism and compassion.

“This is exactly what you want,” Erik Deurell said. “You want the first responders to be skilled, courteous and top-notch. You guys are just great.”

Dowling knew that the 911 call noting the imminent childbirth had been heard by many on duty. He sent out a heads-up about the baby’s birth.

“After she was born and we saw she was healthy, we broadcast over the radio,” Dowling said. “Say hello to Baby Elsa.”

For more information about the services provided by the Merrimack Fire and Rescue Department, call 424-3690 or visit