"We're thankful that the police showed up very fast," Antonio added as his daughter, the couple's first child, slept nearby. "We are grateful for that."
Imperial police Officer Aaron Garcia, a nine-year veteran of the department, was one of two officers who arrived on the scene shortly after receiving a 911 call from the family.
Garcia was joined by Officer Leonard Barra, who has been on the force for a year and a half.
Garcia said of the officers' efforts in delivering Andrea: "Nothing like this has ever happened to me. It's a great feeling."
Barra added, "That was the first time I'd seen (a birth) face to face. It was the most amazing thing I've ever seen in my life. You feel privileged to take part in it."
The story of Andrea's birth began about 10:30 p.m. Aleida started to feel pain, but the family didn't think much of it at first. Aleida wasn't due for about a week so no one suspected she was going into labor.
But the pains persisted and got worse. When the pain was so intense Aleida couldn't stand up, Antonio said, the 911 call was made.
Police were the first to arrive.
"When the police arrived they assisted us in any way the could," Antonio said, adding he was afraid for the safety of his wife and child.
Garcia said when he and Barra arrived the situation did not seem to be so critical.
He said they first thought there was time before Aleida would give birth, but the situation quickly changed.
Aleida was having contractions and Andrea's head was starting to appear.
Garcia, also an emergency medical technician, said at that moment there was no way to wait.
"I told her the next time you feel the need to push, go ahead and push," said Garcia, who added he was holding the baby's head at that time.
As Andrea started to make her way into the world, the Imperial County Fire Department, followed by a Gold Cross Ambulance crew, arrived.
Soon after, Andrea's birth was complete.
Garcia said Andrea had the umbilical cord around her neck but he quickly removed it and the Gold Cross crew cut the cord.
Andrea was then handed to her mother and father.
"I remember him telling his wife ‘I love you,' " Garcia said.
Paul Villa, a county fire paramedic/firefighter who assisted in the birth, said it is always a great experience to take part in a delivery.
"You see someone coming into the world," Villa said. "You see the family's expression."
Antonio said while he and his wife were surprised at the sudden birth, they are happy "because the baby is healthy and she is doing fine."
>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.