Charlie Fast Heffernan lived up to his name before he was even born.
The infant, who is one week old on Monday, was born in the back seat of his grandmother’s Hyundai on Sir Francis Drake Blvd. near downtown San Anselmo.
But he wasn’t named after his speedy entrance into the world. His Fairfax family had already picked his middle name because his father enjoys reaching high speeds while mountain biking in Marin.
Jason Heffernan and Jessica Palmer returned home from a trip to the Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa Hospital on Aug. 6 because the staff had told Palmer she wasn’t in labor and turned her away, said Jason’s mother, Maryanne Heffernan, also a Fairfax resident.
The family left Kaiser around 5:30 p.m., had returned to Fairfax for a short while until they realized the Charlie was definitely coming. And soon.
With Maryanne driving, the family was on Sir Francis Drake Blvd en route to the when Palmer said she had to push. It was almost 7:50 p.m.
Maryanne pulled the car over and called 911 while Jason sat in the back with his wife, who had her feet propped up. Jason was in a sling because he had a severely broken collar bone from a Mount Tamalpais biking accident roughly a week prior – on Charlie’s due date.
911 dispatchers had instructed the family to let Palmer push. “They were saying ‘don’t hold the baby in, let him come, just be careful because he’s going to be slippery,’ ” Maryanne said.
As Palmer was giving birth Jason had reinjured his collar bone. Charlie’s head and neck were sticking out when the firefighters arrived.
The timing couldn’t have been better. Earlier that day, the firefighters had a lesson on “childbirth and obstetrics” at the San Anselmo station, according to the Marin Independent Journal.
The firefighters delivered Charlie and clamped and snipped his umbilical cord. County paramedics took the perfectly healthy baby, weighing 10 pounds and 1 oz., and his mother to Marin General Hospital.
Maryanne said there were so many paramedics, fire trucks and police cars blocking the road that there were no citizen bystanders during the event, so Palmer had a bit of privacy.
“It was crazy, but thank god everyone was ok,” said Maryanne, an operations manager Marin Association of Realtors. “It’s just ironic that he came as fast as he did and the name was more appropriate than anyone expected.”