In the early hours of April 18, 2015, I was woken by horrible pains in my stomach. Around 38 weeks pregnant with my second child, I was exhausted from trouble sleeping at night and spending my days caring for my 2-year-old son. Stomach trouble was the last thing I wanted to deal with, and I hoped I just had a minor bug that I could ride out and get some rest.
After using the bathroom, I felt worse and notified my husband about my desire to go to the hospital. I told him to give me a few minutes to lie down until my dizziness subsided, and we would head out to check on me and the baby.
Moments after I lay down, instinct told me to reach down into my pajama pants. I felt what I knew was the head of my unborn child.
Despite my husband’s insistence (no, I can’t just “close my legs”), I knew we would not get to the hospital in time. I would have to deliver this baby right there, in our bed, in our Brooklyn apartment.
As calmly as I could, I urged my husband to get some towels and call 911.
Better than I could ever be at keeping cool in high-pressure situations, my husband dialed 911 and relayed what was happening to the dispatcher on the line.
He explained how I was in active labor with the baby rapidly exiting my birth canal.
With one hand holding his smartphone, my husband listened intently as the dispatcher guided him in the delivery of our baby.
Thanks to this stranger on the phone, I now held my second, beautiful boy in my arms. Soon after, both EMS and the fire department were in our apartment, ready to escort me and newborn to the hospital. My child would have a difficult first few hours of life, but the dedicated and talented NICU staff enabled me to bring a healthy baby home just a few days later.
Four years have passed since the whirlwind of my second labor and delivery. I share the story often with anyone who will listen, most of whom are fascinated by the speed in which it happened and the role my husband played in delivering my child.
In all this time, however, I never properly thanked the person who was instrumental in ensuring the safe delivery of my child. The 911 dispatcher, who so graciously and patiently helped my husband. The person, who probably has heard all sorts of calls, but never one quite like ours. The dispatcher, who likely sensed the panic my husband masked for my sake, and gave him the confidence to do what he had to do.
We have never met, and I am unsure if you will remember our phone call. I know my husband will never forget your conversation, and I will always remember how tragically different that day could have been had you not answered the call.
I wonder, are you a parent yourself? Could you relate to the worry and confusion of a couple on the brink of a potentially dangerous moment?
We owe many people thanks for helping us survive this day, but you were the first to hear our call and answer our prayers.
Thank you with all my deepest gratitude for being the voice who lead my child into this world.
This story originally appeared on Maybe I’ll Shower Today