ALLEGAN, Mich. (WOOD) — Unlike firefighters, police officers and paramedics, 911 dispatchers don’t always get a chance to see the good that comes out of their work.
So when Larry and Amanda Graham, along with their newborn son Archer, walked through the door of Allegan’s 911 center, it was special.
“Thank you so much. It was amazing,” said Larry Graham, as he met the dispatcher who coached him through his son’s birth for the first time in person.
“Oh no, you guys did great,” said Allegan County 911 operator Jordan Reitzel.
On a recent cold and snowy Wednesday night, about a week out from Amanda’s due date, Larry called 911. Jordan was on the other end of the line.
The following are excerpts from the transcript of that call:
“Okay, tell me exactly what happened?” asks Reitzel.
“My wife might be giving birth right now, so I don’t know if we have time to get her to a hospital.” answers Larry Graham.
“No we don’t!” Amanda is heard in the background of the call.
“He was really calm. Then I heard her in the background. Then I could hear the voice change and I was like, ok, this is really happening,” said Reitzel, recalling the night of January 19th.
Archer wasn’t going to wait for a trip to the hospital, he was about to be born on the floor of his parents’ home.
“Oh, yeah, he’s coming. He’s crowning here.” Larry is heard on the 911 call.
“He’s crowning. Okay,” said Reitzel.
For the next nine minutes, Reitzel’s cool, calm and collected voice coached Larry through his part of the process.
“Okay you guys are doing great. OK. He’s crying… that’s good. OK,” Reitzel tells the Grahams as she hears the newborn crying in the background.
But the work wasn’t over.
“Now without pulling the cord, I want you to tie a clean string tightly around the umbilical cord. We’re going to do this about six inches from the baby, but do not cut it, okay?” Reitzel tells Graham.
The ambulance eventually arrived to take mom and newborn to the hospital to be checked out.
“Okay. Good luck with everything guys. Congrats!” Reitzel said as the paramedics take over.
The Grahams had a son, and Reitzel had a career highlight.
“I hung up the phone and one of my coworkers said ‘man, I’m glad you answered that one.’ Then my other one was like, ‘I wanted that one! I can’t believe you got that one,’” said Reitzel.
The Graham’s said one day they think the story of Archer’s birth might even inspire him towards a career as a 911 operator when he’s all grown up.
“He’d have a cool connection to it… He’d be passionate about it, I would think,” said Amanda Graham.
This marks the 4th time Allegan dispatchers have helped deliver a baby in the last five years.