Author Regina Phillips
When I was 9 months pregnant with my second son, I was working on the phones as a 911 Call Taker on the night shift.
My phone rang and on the other end of the line was a mother my age in labor. Alone with her 5 year old daughter in a private room in a homeless shelter. Her water had just broken, her contractions were back to back, and she was about to start pushing.
I sent the run up to be dispatched and, as per protocol for calls involving imminent childbirth, stayed on the phone with her while the ambulance got started. I also asked my co-worker to call the shelter to get someone to her room to assist her. Then I proceeded to verbally walk her through her childbirth.
She was amazing. We went through each step and instruction together as the ambulance took longer than usual to get there — gather clean towels or a blanket, safety pin or a shoelace, etc.
“Breathe slow and deep. You got this. They’re coming. I need you to feel to see if you can feel or touch any part of the baby now.”
The shelter employee got to the room just in time to catch the baby. I instructed them on what to do next while they waited for the EMTs, who’d just arrived, to get to the room.
“Is the baby breathing? How is Mom? Place the baby directly onto Mom’s chest being careful not to stretch the umbilical cord. Do not pull the umbilical cord.”
I stayed on the line listening to the baby cry, to the shelter employee coo, and the Mom breathe. Everything was beautiful.
This was an amazing straight forward birth, however we are trained to instruct on emergency procedures for all different kinds of birth circumstances — breech, footling, hand first, cord prolapse — you name it.
So, yes. Sometimes we do get the honor of being with a woman during the birth of her child. It is one of those magic moments that you wait for, a light in the dark.
I gave birth to my son maybe a week or two later. I had one hand on my belly the whole time, as he did somersaults to the sounds of my voice (the adrenaline probably had something to do with that too, though. Ha!)