- Associated Press - Sunday, June 21, 2015

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Debra Sutler burst into tears after disconnecting the call.

“There’s no crying in the call center,” she recalled a fellow 911 dispatcher teasing after she had talked a woman through childbirth.

“And then I realized I had forgotten to ask what we had. What . we . had,” she said with a laugh.

It was a little boy, and Sutler got to meet him last week.

Brooksan Huffman gave birth to Brayden Zane on June 6 on her couch in Cabin Creek. Her mother, Roxanna, along with Sutler, a Kanawha County Metro 911 dispatcher, helped with the home delivery.

“The only thing I remember was her voice,” Roxanna said to Sutler.

“Whenever she would tell me to do something, like get a towel, I would think, ‘Oh, that’s a good idea.’”

It was about 8 a.m. when Brooksan stepped out on the front porch to call 911. Cellphone service inside the house is spotty.

Brooksan was five days away from her due date and had been having contractions all morning that were about 45 minutes apart. She thought she had plenty of time to get to a hospital, but it felt like within seconds, the contractions became more intense and started occurring every three to four minutes.

“I said, ‘Mom, we need to get to the hospital,’” Brooksan recalled.

“You’ll never make it in time,” her mother responded.

She was right. The baby came about 15 minutes later.

Brooksan, Roxanna and Sutler sat around a table at the 911 center last week and listened to a recording of the call.

One of Brooksan’s other children, Brooklynn, sat on her lap while Brayden slept in Sutler’s arms.

“I need an ambulance . I’m in labor,” Brooksan could be heard saying into the phone, followed by “Oh my God, oh my God” several times.

The family put the call on speaker and placed the phone in the window, hoping cell service wouldn’t be lost. Brooksan moved to the couch.

“Have her lay flat on her back . Have her take slow, deep breaths through her mouth,” Sutler said.

The women laughed about how calm Sutler seemed - especially over the next several minutes.

“It’s the baby’s head! It’s the baby’s head!” Roxanna yelled out.

She wiped tears from her eyes while listening to the call.

She and Sutler held hands.

“I bet you never thought you’d deliver him,” Sutler whispered.

“I’ve never been so scared,” Roxanna told her.

On her way home from work the day the baby was born, Sutler said it was hard not to stop at the hospital.

“Did they let you know anything about him? Did they tell you he was OK?” Roxanna asked Sutler.

Sutler said paramedics later told her, “Yes, they told me it was a 6-pound, 6-ounce baby boy.”

The Huffmans thought about Sutler after the delivery too, they said.

“We wanted to thank her, but we didn’t know how. We wondered if we could just call 911 again.” Brooksan said with a laugh.

Officials at the call center were impressed with Sutler’s performance and reached out to the Huffmans. Sutler has worked as a dispatcher 11 years.

Agency coordinator Rick McElhaney said that while all of the dispatchers are trained to handle similar situations, he thinks it came easier for Sutler because she is a mother and grandmother herself.

After meeting, the women agreed to keep in touch. Roxanna wrote her phone number on a slip of paper and handed it to Sutler.

“I am just tickled to death I got to meet you all,” Sutler said. “We never get the outcome of what goes on. This is really special.”


Information from: The Charleston Gazette, https://www.wvgazette.com

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