Dispatcher delivers help

Family dials 911 to bring baby into world

Family dials 911 to bring baby into world

February 04, 2006|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM


When Jessica Ryce's first baby was born nearly four years ago, the labor lasted only a few hours. She barely made it to the hospital two years ago before giving birth to her second child.

And about one week ago when Ryce, 22, had her third baby, an 8 pound-5 ounce boy, she only made it as far as her bathroom floor.

"I got there just in time to catch," said Cheryl Troppman, Ryce's mother.

Troppman delivered the baby, while Ryce's husband, Daniel, 25, relayed instructions from a Washington County Emergency Services dispatcher.

The dispatcher, Warren Royce, of Clear Spring, received a call from the Ryces, of Hagerstown, at 7:14 a.m. Three minutes later Ryce gave birth to Conner Malachi-Daniel Ryce.

Ryce said she did not believe the labor would move so quickly, and called Troppman to take her to the hospital after her water broke that morning. Troppman said she got to the house just in time to deliver the baby.


"I had really prepared myself for it," Troppman said. "I almost knew this could happen ... that I was going to have to deliver this baby."

Daniel Ryce said after his wife went into labor Jan. 20 ? her due date ? he told her to sit on the floor.

Jessica Ryce said by the time her husband was on the phone with emergency personnel, she felt that the baby was going to be born soon. Daniel Ryce was speaking with Royce, and relaying instructions to Troppman, when Ryce turned around and saw his son's head.

He can be heard on a tape of the 911 call saying, "Oh, my God! The head's popping out!"

After almost three minutes of instruction by Royce, Conner began to cry at 7:17 a.m., according to 911 transcripts. Royce asked the family to make sure the baby was breathing properly, and Troppman said she wiped Conner's face with a clean towel.

Royce said he has always been nervous about helping to deliver a baby over the phone.

"I was nervous," he said. "I didn't want to mess up anything that needed to go right."

When he got on the phone with Ryce, Royce said, the birth was moving very quickly, and he needed to catch up. All dispatchers have a computer screen they can pull up with instructions for delivering a baby. The instructions begin on step A, Royce said, but deliveries do not all start at step A.

In Ryce's case, Royce said she was already far along in the birth when he got the call.

"It was pretty amazing," he said. "I brought another life into the world over the phone."

His co-workers, who knew about Royce's fear of delivering a baby over the phone, asked him whether it was a boy or a girl while he was on the phone. When he hung up, they began to clap.

The next day, they brought him a cake with the words, "Congratulations, It's a Boy," Royce said.

His supervisor, Bardona Woods, who also taught Royce before he became a dispatcher, said she was proud of him.

"He is an exceptional dispatcher," she said. "He really cares about what he does."

Woods said it is rare for a 911 dispatcher to help deliver a baby over the phone. When dispatchers take calls from women in labor, an ambulance is typically able to arrive in time to transport the mother, or at least in time to take over.

After Jessica Ryce gave birth, Royce stayed on the phone with Daniel Ryce for another 11 minutes, until 7:28 a.m., when an ambulance arrived.

Jessica Ryce and the baby were taken to Washington County Hospital, where they stayed for 24 hours, she said.

"I had a feeling after how fast her second (labor) went, that this could happen," Troppman said.

Ryce said just before she gave birth to her second child, 2-year-old Faith Ryce, she called 911 and sat on the bathroom floor.

"I was thinking I was going to deliver right there," she said.

An ambulance arrived that time and was able to take Ryce to the hospital just in time for her to give birth in a bed.

"They said next time I should just stay at the hospital the whole time (I'm pregnant)," Ryce said.

The couple's first child, Tyler, is 3 years old.

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