Chelsea Dean was working through the afternoon like any other fielding calls at the Fort Bragg 911 Dispatch Center. But, on an early day in February, she was faced with a challenge she had never experienced.
“I answered a call and it was a military (service member) who said his wife was in labor,” Dean said.
Dean, who has 10 years of experience as a 911 dispatcher, as well as six years as a military police Soldier, said this was her first experience delivering a baby. She said she was a little nervous but remained calm and began the protocol for birthing phone calls.
“He was nervous and panicking,” she said. “I believe it was his first child.”
Dean said she could hear the mother in the background who was in obvious pain.
When Dean asked the father what he could see, he said he could see the feet of the baby hanging out. It was at this moment that Dean knew she wasn’t handling a normal birth and that the baby was breech.
911 dispatchers are equipped with materials to guide them through certain scenarios, Dean explained. When she discovered the baby was breech she turned to the protocol information she had on that subject.
Dean said there is a chance for babies who are breech to experience broken or dislocated bones so the positioning is important. She talked the couple through the delivery and the baby came out perfectly just as the fire department was coming through the front door.
As a 911 dispatcher, Dean does not get to have direct contact with the people she helps, once the phone call ends, that’s it, she said. But in this case, the dispatch center was able to learn the Family was doing great.
Although Dean was the person who was talking the parents through the delivery process, she credits all the team members at the dispatch center.
“It’s not just me, while I’m talking on the phone the team is dispatching police and fire, we do things as team.”