By Jeremy Pawloski
YELM, Wash. — A pregnant Yelm woman tested positive for methamphetamine, so she tried to hide the fact that she gave birth to her daughter in a bathtub at her home earlier this week, according to a sheriff's sergeant.
The woman tried to keep the birth a secret because she feared — correctly — that authorities would take the child away after the positive meth test, according to Thurston County Sheriff's Sgt. Ray Brady.
"She was very aware that authorities knew she had tested positive for methamphetamine," Brady said.
A Thurston County sheriff's deputy is now being credited with helping save the infant's life.
Deputy Mickey Hamilton went to the mother's home in the 16000 block of 83rd Way in Yelm early Tuesday morning to conduct a welfare check. Hamilton had been told of the woman's "high-risk" pregnancy by Child Protective Services, and was aware that the 31-year-old woman was past her due date of August 8.
The mother answered the door in a heavy bathrobe, and denied to Deputy Hamilton that she had given birth, Brady said.
Hamilton did not believe the woman, and was suspicious due to her not allowing him inside, so he obtained a search warrant for the residence, Brady said.
Brady said Hamilton had to break down the locked door to the woman's home after obtaining the search warrant.
Hamilton, who was joined by a Yelm police officer, discovered the baby in a car seat in a bedroom. A friend of the mother who was at the home told Hamilton that she had helped deliver the baby on Sunday or Monday.
The friend, who had experience as a nursing assistant, said she had watched a video on YouTube on how to cut a baby's umbilical cord, Brady said.
Brady said the child needed emergency medical care, due to the mother's meth abuse, and she was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital. The sheriff's office has now transferred custody of the baby to Child Protective Services, Brady added.
The baby was in stable condition Friday at Providence St. Peter Hospital, Brady said.
The sheriff's office will honor Hamilton with a lifesaving award, Brady said. Doctors have said it is unlikely the infant would have survived unless Hamilton intervened, allowing her to get medical care, Brady said.
"He took heroic action to save the life of a child," Brady said. "We're very proud here at the sheriff's office of Deputy Hamilton and his tenacity in his investigation."
The sheriff's office is investigating the mother for criminal charges, Brady added.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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