Rebecca Mansour thought she was dreaming. She remembers sitting unclothed on the toilet in her cramped apartment bathroom early in the morning of May 30, pushing out her son two weeks before his due date. Crouched in front of her was Lynbrook Police Officer Anthony Falsitta, who coached her as he waited to catch the baby.
“I was like, this baby is really coming right now, in this bathroom?” Mansour recalled, nestling her sleeping son, Ray Mansour Jr., tightly on the couch in her living room. “I can’t believe it. The baby comes out, and all I can say is, ‘My baby? Is this real?’”
Rebecca said she realized something was wrong when she felt pain the night before. She fell asleep, but woke up around 2:30 a.m. in even more discomfort. She and her husband, Ray, believed it was false labor, but when the pain continued, they decided that Ray should drop their daughter, Scarlett, who turns 2 on July 16, at Rebecca’s mother’s house, and they would head to the hospital. Ray Jr. was due on June 12.
They thought they had more time.
“We were thinking maybe six hours with this one,” Ray said, recounting that Rebecca was in labor with Scarlett for 12 hours. “So that’s what kind of threw us off, because the labor was less than four hours.”
“I mean, I heard the second one comes fast, but that fast?” Rebecca added with a laugh. “And two weeks early?”
While Ray was gone, the pain intensified. Rebecca managed to get into bed, but realized that the baby was coming. Ray, meanwhile, also dropped his sister Sara at school and picked up his mother, Nancy Smith, so she could come to the hospital with them. Unaware of how close his wife was to giving birth, he tried calling her several times from the road. Rebecca said she prayed for her water to break and, finally, it did while she was in bed.
“That’s when my husband called me,” she said. “I’m hearing his ringtone, and I’m like, ‘Is he crazy?’ I can’t even find my phone. I can’t even move to get my phone. I’m in so much pain, and it’s still going [off]. I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, why is he calling me right now?’” She hobbled around, found her phone and told Ray that her water had broken, and he called 911. The operator dispatched an ambulance and contacted the Lynbrook Police Department.
Rebecca tried to get into the bathtub, but couldn’t, so she sat on the toilet. She feared that the baby would have no one there to catch him. Smith said she knew the baby was coming from the noises Rebecca made on the phone. “I’ll never forget the chanting,” Smith said, imitating the sounds as she, Ray and Rebecca burst into laughter.
Falsitta said he was on a coffee break nearby when the call came over the radio. He added that even though two other units were dispatched, he decided to go to the house just in case he was needed. He was the first officer to arrive, and he met Ray and his mother outside the home.
“I walked in first,” Smith said. “She slammed the [bathroom] door on me … I wanted to catch the baby!”
“I closed the door in her face,” Rebecca confirmed with a smile. “… I felt horrible, but whatever. I’m sorry.”
When Falsitta entered the bathroom, “she was in a lot of pain and going through heavy contractions,” he said. “I have two kids of my own, so I know when they’re that close together, it’s gonna happen soon.”
“He comes in the bathroom and he’s like, ‘Ma’am, I’m sorry. I know this is strange and awkward, but I have to check out what’s going on,’” Rebecca said. “So as soon as I open my legs, there’s a head!”
Falsitta, who said he took an hour-long training course on how to deliver a baby four years ago when he was in the academy, got down on his knees in the confined space and prepared to deliver a baby for the first time in his life. “I turned and looked at the father and said, ‘OK, we’re gonna deliver the baby here,’ and told the mother to start pushing,” he said. “I was able to get the head out almost immediately with her first push. The baby’s shoulders — I had to kind of turn it to the side while she was pushing, and the baby came out on the second push.”
Ray Jr. was born at 7:42 a.m. on May 31, weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. He was 19 inches long. Falsitta said that at first the baby was not breathing, but he turned him over and cleared his airway by slapping his back. Space was so tight in the bathroom, he added, that his radio and gun belt kept getting caught on a towel rack behind him when he was crouched over.
An ambulance transported mother and son to South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, where they stayed for two days.
The Mansours eventually found Falsitta’s name on their son’s birth certificate and tracked him down. Falsitta met Ray Jr. again at their home on June 26. The Lynbrook Police Benevolent Association gave him Superman booties, a blanket and a doll.
“We’re just extremely grateful and extremely happy,” Ray said. “What else can you ask for? He’s healthy and he’s OK.” He added that the couple learned a valuable lesson, and wouldn’t wait that long to go to the hospital if they have another child.
Rebecca said she has experienced a wide range of emotions since Ray Jr.’s birth, but is happy that her son is healthy. “For me, there were those emotions right afterward,” she said. “There’s … a euphoria, but then the next day things kind of settle in, and you’re like, oh my goodness, things could have went so wrong and there was … this regret. But now, for me, it’s just happy and joyful.”
Falsitta said he was glad the story had a happy ending. He also enjoyed visiting the family nearly four weeks after the birth.
“It was pretty cool,” he said. “… I told Ray when his son gets older and is able to understand police cars and stuff and is into ‘Paw Patrol,’ to give me a ring and I’ll let him mess around with the police car. It’s definitely cool to have a good story like that and be able to follow up.”