Of all the Pasco County dispatchers who could have taken the 911 call, it was pregnant Caitlin Smoak who helped a couple deliver their baby over the phone in a Walgreens parking lot Friday morning.
Around 9:45 a.m., the mother’s boyfriend called 911 while driving and explained his girlfriend was in extreme pain and possibly early labor. They feared they wouldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Smoak instructed them to pull over, so the boyfriend pulled into the pharmacy at State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Blvd.
Nine months pregnant herself, Smoak coached the couple through delivering the baby in a grassy area in the parking lot. She says the baby girl came within the first fie minutes of the 9-1-1 call.
“Oh my god, we’ve got a baby right here. What do I do?” the baby’s father can be heard saying on the 911 recording.
Smoak then walked him through how to immediately care for the newborn, while constantly reminding him to stay calm.
“Okay, okay, take a deep breath,” Smoak says during the call.
Smoak then instructed the father on how to cut the umbilical cord with a shoelace and carefully preserve the afterbirth while waiting for paramedics to arrive. The ambulance showed up a few minutes after the birth and took both mom and baby to Advent Health Wesley Chapel.
The father later told a hospital spokesperson the experience was “scary, but exciting.”
The baby was born prematurely and transferred to the neonatal intensive care unit at Advent Health Tampa. A hospital spokesperson said both mom and baby were doing well as of Friday night.
ORIGINAL STORY: A couple who had to deliver their baby in front of a Walgreens is thanking a dispatcher, who is 9-months pregnant herself, for guiding them through the process, according to the Pasco County Fire Rescue.
At about 9:45 a.m. Friday, the couple called 911 after the 28-year-old went into labor. She was having contractions less than a minute apart, the agency said.
“He was driving, they were on the way to the hospital, he didn’t think they would make it. I got them to pull over, and a couple minutes later, the baby was there,” said the dispatcher, Caitlin Smoak.
As the woman’s labor progressed, Smoke stayed on the phone and talked her boyfriend through the birthing process. A short time later, a baby girl was born in a grassy area just outside of their SUV.
Smoak provided additional instructions for tying off the umbilical cord with a shoelace. She also told the woman’s boyfriend how to care for the baby until paramedics were able to arrive.
The baby and her mother were taken to Advent Health in Wesley Chapel and are said to be in good health, according to the fire agency.