Firefighter reunited with ‘bucket list’ baby delivered in LaGrange Park bathroom

LAGRANGE PARK, Ill. — On Tuesday, a suburban first responder reunited with a miracle baby she helped make a bold entrance into the world last month.   

On April 4, the LaGrange Park Fire Department received a call about a woman possibly in labor. First responders arrived, thinking crews would be able to transport the mom-to-be to the local hospital. The baby boy has plans of his own, however.

“This was an experience of a lifetime,” said first responder Sandy Vlcek Gajeski.

A 40-year veteran of the LaGrange Park Fire Department, Gajeski says it was the first time she delivered a baby.    

“That was on my bucket list…to deliver a baby,” Gajeski said. “I actually achieved that, so I’m pretty excited,”

Gajeski reunited with 7-week-old Adam Shalabi and his mom.   

A 40-year veteran of the LaGrange Park Fire Department, Sandy Vlcek Gajeski says it was the first time she delivered a baby. (Photo: WGN)

“It was a good experience but I wouldn’t do it again,” mom Ibtesam Shalabi laughed. “But we got through and Sandy was a very big help.”

Shalabi says she was two weeks shy of her due date and didn’t expect to go into labor when she did.    

“I’m like, ‘OK, I could go to the hospital now,’ but then there was no more time. He wanted to come out, I guess,” Shalabi said.

Added Gajeski: “We were in this little tiny bathroom and that was it and it couldn’t have gone more smooth. It was perfect.” 

During Tuesday’s meeting, Auntie Sandy, as Adam’s family affectionately calls the firefighter, showered her new nephew with some stylish clothes. The two families plan to stay in touch and share this story for years to come.   

“I’m going to keep this relationship going,” Shalabi said. “Every time I have the chance, I’m going to come and see the crew.” 

Auntie Sandy told WGN News she would gladly welcome the visits.

“I made friends and that’s a good thing,” Gajeski said. “That’s a good thing.”

The date of April 4 now has a new special meaning to the longtime EMS personnel. She delivered the baby the same day her dad died nearly 30 years ago.