Dispatcher Delivers Baby via Phone


At Eaton County Central Dispatch, the people that answer 911 calls have to be ready for anything. Wednesday morning, that included childbirth.

A little after 10 a.m., Nolan Brown took a call.

"Eaton County 911 what is your emergency?" Brown answered.

"My daughter is pregnant and I think the baby is coming."

Brown kept his voice calm, something he says he has been trained to do in any emergency situation, but on the inside, he was ecstatic.

"Oh man I was juiced. I was pumped up," he said. "I was so excited to be involved in something like that because birth is one of those miracles of life, it truly is."

Brown did what he was trained to do, methodically questioning the grandmother-to-be on the other line, gathering all he could about the situation, at times sounding more like a doctor than a first responder.

"Have you seen the water break or anything?"

"No."

"Is she having contractions?"

"Yeah."

"How close are the contractions?"

Brown walked the woman through the process every step of the way, from how to hold the baby for optimal support to how to tie the umbilical cord.

An ambulance responded to the scene and took mother and child to Sparrow Hospital safe and sound.

"I was so excited," Brown said. "And when the ambulance took over and I hung up I just went around the room and we high-fived each other because it was just a very enjoyable experience for everyone involved."

The computers at the 911 call center are programmed with protocol to help any dispatcher through any situation. It helped too that Brown was a volunteer firefighter and EMT and had delivered a baby in person before, just never over the phone.

And as a father of four, Brown said the birth meant even more to him.

"I got to watch all of my kids come into the world and be there, but to be on the other end of the phone just coaching someone through it, it was kind of like your own," he said. "You get that same jubilation, that same excitement out of it all."

He called his daughter and his parents to tell them what had happened and went out to dinner to celebrate.

For Tanya and Jacob Schmidt, the parents of newborn Brooklyn Olivia, the birth was unexpected. Tanya had been to the doctor the day before. She was set for induced labor the next day. But minutes after she woke up Wednesday morning, she knew the baby was coming.

"I went to the living room, got a really bad contraction, felt her head drop down," she said. "I looked at my mom and said you need to call 911. Her head is coming out of me."

Tanya's mother and sister helped deliver Brooklyn, with Brown's help.

"[My mother] thought it would be cool if she could see [Brooklyn] being born," said Tanya. "But she thinks it's the coolest thing ever that she got to help deliver her."

Yet Tanya, or her mother for that matter, are no stranger to births out of hospitals. Tanya herself was born in the exact same house 25 years ago. Her father delivered her.

"I came before the paramedics got there," Tanya said, "just like she did. You hear of a lot of things but you don't hear of yeah I was born in the same house my mom was."


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