Brecksville dispatcher talks couple through delivery

by Sara Hill

Like all 911 dispatchers, it’s part of Christine Mazzeo’s job to be in the right place at the right time. But unlike most dispatchers, Mazzeo has received a unique 911 call not just one, but twice in her 12-year career.

On Dec. 2, Mazzeo took a call from a man driving in Brooklyn near Ridge Park Square. His voice was frantic and full of panic – his wife was in active labor in their vehicle’s front seat while their two young children were in the backseat. The family was trying to get to the hospital.

“The baby was coming. You know that feeling you get in your gut; I knew right then the baby was coming,” Mazzeo said.

A certified Emergency Medical Dispatcher (EMD) trained in providing basic medical care including the delivering of babies, Mazzeo immediately went into action calming the couple and providing verbal instructions for the safe delivery of the newborn baby. Mazzeo is a Dispatch Supervisor at the Chagrin Valley Dispatch Center in Brecksville.

The father safely navigated into a nearby McDonald’s parking lot and listened as Mazzeo told them what to do. Within four minutes, a healthy baby girl was delivered.

“The first baby I delivered, it was a first-time mom, but this couple was calmer as it was their third. It is our job as dispatchers to make sure there is a smooth delivery eliminating complications like extreme bleeding and lessen any injury to mom and/or baby. I could hear the baby crying and I knew we had a healthy baby,” Mazzeo said.

Mazzeo’s accomplishment earned her a Stork Pin, awarded to professionals who successfully deliver a baby via telephone dispatch before a squad arrives on scene. In other words, delivering a baby completely on your own with only a telephone and your training. She wasn’t purposely connected to the family because she’s a supervisor or has done it before.

“I took that call totally by chance. I was shaking the whole time. Afterwards, I cried because it’s a very happy moment. I had to take a minute. So many calls we receive are very sad and tragic, but these were tears of joy,” Mazzeo said.

This is Mazzeo’s second Stork Pin and she is now the second dispatcher in Chagrin Valley Dispatch history to receive more than one pin.  ∞

Christine Mazzeo is the second dispatcher at the Cuyahoga Valley Dispatch Center to receive more than one Stork Pin for helping to deliver a baby on duty. Photo submitted.