Florida

911 dispatcher walks frantic husband through delivering his baby

Manatee County telecommunicator Lt. Danielle Meo talked a father through delivering his wife’s baby Wednesday night when the couple couldn’t make it to the hospital in time.
Manatee County telecommunicator Lt. Danielle Meo talked a father through delivering his wife’s baby Wednesday night when the couple couldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Provided photo

A Manatee County family welcomed a new child on their doorstep as 911 officials talked the father through the late-night delivery.

When the wife went into labor Wednesday night, the couple tried to get to the hospital but couldn’t make it, according to Jacob Saur, chief of 911 emergency communications for Manatee County.

“We were getting ready to leave for the hospital, I just put her in the car,” the father told dispatchers. “I was inside getting one last thing and she was screaming I could hear her inside.”

The father used his cell phone to call 911 for help around 10 p.m., but because of their rural location near Myakka City, the call was first routed to Hardee County. Once the call was transferred to Manatee, the frantic father-to-be told telecommunicator Lt. Danielle Meo his wife was in labor. They were still in the car in front of their home.

Less than two minutes into the call, Meo got a surprising development.

“The head is out,” the father yelled during the call.

“Are you talking about a baby?” Meo asked.

“Yes, baby is out, the head is out,” the father frantically replied.

Meo walked the father through the child birth without incident, Saur said.

A baby crying can be heard in the background of the 911 call as Meo tells him to wipe the baby’s mouth and nose.

An ambulance was on its way, but because of the couple’s rural location, it was nearly 17 minutes before EMS crews arrived to help.

Saur said that kind of response time is unusual, and typically a Manatee County ambulance can arrive in seven minutes or less but in this case, he said the remoteness of the couple’s home was a reason for the delay.

“They are coming as fast as they can, you guys are just a little far out there, OK?” Meo tells the father after being on the phone for several minutes after the delivery.

While the couple waited for the ambulance, Meo also instructed the father on what to do with the baby after birth, including how to dry and warm the infant, tie off the umbilical cord and relay important medical information to first responders.

Adding to the already stressful scenario, the father’s cell phone died at one point during the call. But Meo took down the man’s home phone number, and they were able to reconnect and continue the process through a second call on the home phone.

He wrapped his wife and new baby up in blankets to keep them warm while Meo stayed on the phone with him until crews arrived.

“You both did a really good job, congratulations,” Meo said, ending the call as EMS crews pulled up to the house.

Dad, mom and baby were OK, Saur said.

Delivering babies over 911 calls do not happen often, Saur said, even though there was a similar call in Manatee County in March.

“Usually it doesn’t happen at all especially that long where the dispatcher does the delivery and tying the cord,” Saur said.

But when they do, it’s a good call for dispatchers.

“They’re kind of the golden 911 call unless something goes bad. It’s a dispatcher’s golden call. They’re stressful but at the end well worth it,” Saur said.

Sara Nealeigh: 941-745-7081, @saranealeigh

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