COLLEGE STATION, TX — Emergency dispatchers handle many high-adrenaline calls, often dealing with cases of devastation and loss. But two Brazos County 9-1-1 dispatchers recently worked an exciting call, resulting in a rare moment, of great joy.
Brazos County 9-1-1 dispatchers Stephanie Arms and Darian Soares, have had a relatively smooth past few weeks working together. Arms, a seasoned dispatcher with over nine years of experience, has been training rookie colleague Soares in the ways of processing 9-1-1 calls, calmly and effectively. On Feb. 21, Soares was only into her third month of training and hadn’t handled many serious medical emergencies firsthand. Then, an expectant father in Bryan picked up the phone.
“I stopped for a second and was like, ‘hmm - did I hear there was a head coming out?" Soares recalled. "'Yes indeed – let's go!’” The young married couple had been hunkered down at a Bryan hotel trying to keep warm during the recent winter storm and were in a tight spot when the expectant mom went into labor. Soares spoke quickly with the father, reading birthing prompts that she and Arms pulled up through a database for the dispatch center.
"If we get a medical emergency, we get [the caller's] address, get their phone number," explained Arms. "Then we pull up our EMD, which is the 'emergency medical dispatch.' It takes us through steps [about] how to deliver a baby.”
Under Arms’ guidance, Soares successfully talked the couple through the birth, as paramedics were still trying to make their way to the scene.
"[I was] just telling her to remain calm, and to push, especially," Soares said. "That’s a major point during the call. That was something he [said, as he] kept trying to get her motivated. Breathe! A lot of people forget that she does need to breathe.”
Hours after the call was completed, the baby’s father called back to the dispatch center to thank them for all their efforts, and to report that his wife had given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
"We did hear the baby cry, which was amazing," Arms said. Moments like these are rare for workers like Arms and Soares. “A lot of times we see such negative things, and walk people through that," Soares said. "It’s great to see something positive in the community as well.”
While dispatchers do regularly handle baby and pregnancy-related situations, talking women through labor is an especially rare occurrence, according to employees at the dispatch center. Arms and Soares were able to join the Brazos County 9-1-1 ‘stork club,’ and reflect on the outcome of the emergency.
"There are some calls that we do get to know the ending of, but with most calls, we don’t get to know the outcome," Arms said. "... Like for this baby, I’ve probably thought about her almost every day.”