While 911 dispatchers have their share of stressful, high-pressure calls that don’t end up having positive outcomes, sometimes they have the chance to help save a life – or even bring a new life into the world. 911 dispatcher, Debra Sutler of Kanawha County, West Virginia, found this to be the case when she talked a woman through the successful delivery of her baby.
Officials at the call center were so impressed with her performance during the call that they arranged for her to meet the mother and baby. It turned out that the mother—Brooksan Huffman—wanted to meet the dispatcher that made such a difference in her life at a pivotal time.
Huffman gave birth five days before her due date. The day started out with contractions about 45 minutes apart, so she thought she had plenty of time to get to the hospital. Suddenly she started having contractions every 3 to 4 minutes and realized that the time had come.
Cell phone service inside the house is unreliable, so Huffman called 911 from the front porch saying that she was in labor and needed an ambulance. Her family put the phone on speaker and put it in the living room window fervently hoping that service wouldn’t be lost. Fortunately the connection held, and Sutler was able to calmly direct the birth in detail. Paramedics found a healthy 6-pound, 6-ounce baby boy who was already named Brayden Zane – when they arrived.
This happy ending was made even more joyful when the 911 dispatcher and the mother agreed to keep in touch after their meeting. Sutler told The Charleston Gazette “This is really special,” because the dispatchers generally do not get to know the outcome of the calls they take.