After Sophia was born, a representative for our county’s 911 office named Mark called us to ask if we’d like to meet the 911 dispatcher who talked us through Sophia’s birth. He said that their office only gets calls like ours 3-4 times a year, and they’d like to meet us and give us a few mementos of being a “911 baby.”
So tonight we took the kids to the office, and it ended up being really fun and interesting. We met the lovely woman who had taken our call and coached us through the birth, as well as another representative from the ambulance office. I had never thought about a 911 birth from the dispatcher’s perspective, but it was very exciting for her and said she couldn’t sleep the rest of the night. She explained that she can take 100 or more calls a day, and almost none of them are happy calls. I hadn’t thought about how different it must be to hear a new baby’s cry over the phone when your job is taking calls about car accidents, heart attacks, and crimes. She has had people die while on the phone with her. I’m so glad that we called her for such a joyous reason and that we had the chance to thank her. The kids made her cards that said, “thank you for helping our baby sister be born safely.” They gave us a basket full of baby things that the ambulance representative had gotten us, and gave us a 911 baby blanket. They have little stork pins that they give EMTs that end up catching babies, so since Paul caught his own baby, they gave him one.
Mark had also arranged for one of the EMTs, Josh, to meet us there as well. Josh was the EMT that rode in the back of the ambulance with Sophia and me, so I remembered him well. He is only 22 (!!!) and he had told me it was his first call to a birth and he had been really nervous! It was great to see him again and show him how big and cute Sophia has already gotten. We were so impressed with the EMTs and firefighters that came to our house, who made a potentially stressful situation seem pretty calm and normal, and so we were glad to be able to thank him again too. We let him know that the midwives had also been very impressed with them. Mark gave us the contact information for the firefighters that responded too, and we’ll arrange to go see them at the fire station soon. I’m sure James will want to see the fire truck he missed since he slept through the birth, and I want to thank the firefighter that put in a load of laundry for me!
They took us on a tour through the dispatch office, where the dispatchers sit in a huge room full of monitors. Each dispatcher has a station with four or more giant monitors in front of them, and there are other screens with maps, clocks, etc surrounding the room. They explained how the whole process of taking calls and dispatching assistance works, how they trace locations by phone (both landline and cell), and even showed us the childbirth instructions she was working from during our call. They gave us the official report from our call, with all the pertinent times and notes. Then we listened to a recording of the whole call! It was a little strange for me to hear myself have a baby over the phone, but I can’t believe we have an official recording of us delivering our daughter. We heard me announce “baby’s born!,” heard us discussing how she was doing and whether she was breathing yet, and heard Sophia’s first cries. They gave us a CD with the recording so we can play it for Sophia when she’s older. I’ve never wanted any photos, or, heaven forbid, video of my babies being born, but a 911 call is pretty awesome documentation!