PUEBLO, Co. (KRDO) -- The Pueblo Police Department is praising one of their 911 dispatchers, who walked a Belmont neighborhood family through the delivery of a healthy baby boy over the phone.
Emergency dispatchers take a lot of calls every day. Everything from car crashes and medical issues, to plenty of non-emergencies.
"I've had someone call me for directions before from Fourth Street,” said Pueblo Emergency Services Dispatcher, Emily Gallardo.
But around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 17, Gallardo got the call of a lifetime when a husband called 911 to say his wife was going into labor, and he didn't have time to get her to a hospital.
"I was keeping calm, as we've had these kinds of calls before," said Gallardo. "But AMR, EMS, or Fire has always shown up before anything happens.”
Gallardo started going through the required list of questions and instructions for the stressed dad.
But as those questions began, the labor progressed much faster than anyone involved was expecting.
"I asked him, how far apart are the contractions? Less than 2 minutes or more than 2 minutes? And he goes, 'Oh, I think 30 seconds,'" said Gallardo. "Next thing I know, he says 'The head’s out! His head’s out!’”
That’s when this already dramatic call, took a very scary turn.
Gallardo asked the dad on the other line if the baby was crying or breathing. When the father said he wasn't, she then asked if the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck. Unfortunately, it was.
This realization made the dad frantic, but Gallardo kept her composure and managed to walk him through what to do to save the baby.
"It's common for the umbilical cord to be wrapped around the baby's neck," Gallardo said via a recording of the 911 call that KRDO has obtained. "Listen carefully, and I'll tell you exactly what to do. Shove your finger under the cord without stretching the cord tight. Carefully, pull it over the baby's head, away from the baby's body, do you understand?”
The dad followed her instructions perfectly and removed the cord. After that, Gallardo could hear the baby crying on the other side of the phone.
“As soon as he removed the cord, I heard the baby cry in the background," said Gallardo. "I threw my hands up in the air and got goosebumps."
EMS arrived shortly after the dad removed the umbilical cord from the baby’s neck and took the family to a Pueblo hospital.
"I was shaking," said Gallardo. "My hands like would not stop shaking. I took off my headset and I looked at my trainer and said, 'I need a break.' I walked the hall, I teared up a little bit, collected myself, and then came back in and took the next call."
To put it into perspective just how fast this labor was, the dad called 911 at 8:05 a.m., and by 8:09 a.m. the baby was already out.
Because of Gallardo's calm instructions and the determination of the dad, the newborn baby boy and mom are both healthy.
“If I could reach out to them, I would tell them: good job," said Gallardo. "The dad did... Oh, my gosh... I can't get over how good he did and well he listened. Because some of the people we get on the phone are so distraught, or so excited -- we can't get instructions to them. When I was on the phone with him, he was actually there comforting the mom, talking to her, telling her what I told him. I mean, he remove the cord, he went to unlock the door, and he let medical in. He did phenomenal. The only thing I would change if I was to get a call like this again, would be to actually give him credit."
"This is an exhilarating event for us to help bring a new life into this world," said Pueblo Police in a tweet. "We appreciate the hard work and dedication our dispatchers demonstrate every day. Our dispatchers are a vital component in keeping our officers and community safe."
This incredible experience is made even more powerful by the fact that Gallardo... is also 6 months pregnant with a baby boy.
"I've had plenty of family members and friends say, 'Well, now you know what to do if you go into labor," said Gallardo. "And I was like… I better not! I better be in a hospital."