Metro-East News

Edwardsville dispatcher helps parents deliver baby over the phone

Telecommunicator Jared Runyan and others work in the new 911 call center in O’Fallon. An Edwardsville dispatcher, not pictured, helped a mom and dad deliver their baby over the phone Tuesday.
Telecommunicator Jared Runyan and others work in the new 911 call center in O’Fallon. An Edwardsville dispatcher, not pictured, helped a mom and dad deliver their baby over the phone Tuesday. dholtmann@bnd.com

In his 14-year career as a dispatcher, Jason Eberhard has never had to assist with a birth before.

But early Tuesday morning, Eberhard helped bring a healthy baby boy into the world, via a telephone call with a nervous, soon-to-be dad.

The baby was coming sooner than the parents expected, said Edwardsville Police Chief Jay Keevan. The mom had some contractions but didn’t think they were strong enough to go to the hospital.

But too soon, the baby was crowning and it was go time.

“I was calm ... you have to be calm, cool and collected or person on the other end won’t be,” Eberhard said. “The dad was pretty panicky.”

Dispatchers have an emergency medical dispatch card that details what to do in different types of medical emergencies, births included. It gives step-by-step instructions on what to do, but the situation often calls for more than that. The card can give an avenue for dispatchers to follow, Eberhard said, but you have to be able to keep the other person halfway calm, so they can do what dispatchers are telling them.

Eberhard was on the phone with the parents for about four minutes before first responders arrived and took over at the home. But by the time they came, the baby boy had already been born.

“Of course the dad was excited and crying,” Eberhard said. “The baby was born and wrapped in a towel; we verified that he was breathing.”

Both the mother and baby are back home and healthy, Keevan said.

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