Grand Traverse Co. 911 Dispatcher, Sheriff’s Officers Help Deliver Baby on Side of the Road
"A lot of times we don’t get to find out results of calls. I feel really good about this call.” - 911 Dispatcher Andrea Holczman
Statistics show more than 10,000 babies are born every day in the US, fewer than 300 a day are born here in Michigan.
But northern Michigan’s newest baby found a unique way to make an appearance. That baby arrived Tuesday morning with the help of officers from the Grand Traverse County Sheriff’s Department, and a 911 dispatcher.
The action started at Grand Traverse County’s Central Dispatch. Just a few minutes before the 7 a.m. shift change for dispatchers. 911 Dispatcher Andrea Holczman was just getting settled at her desk. “Log in to the computer, drink my coffee, check emails. Usually the first couple of calls are car/deer accidents. So this one was as surprise to take right off the bat,” she says.
That call came in within seconds of Andrea getting to work. While the action started inside dispatch, the adventure started a few minutes earlier – with mom getting into the car and heading for the hospital. In the 911 call, the caller says, “I’m on my way to Munson hospital and my patient is in labor having her baby right now!”
Holczman says, “Right away, ‘my friend’s having a baby. This isn’t her first.’ And I believe the friend even said she had a history of delivering quickly. So based on all of that I figured, well, we’re going to deliver a baby on the phone.”
The caller, and mom, were pretty sure they couldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Dispatch had a sheriff’s deputy nearby. Holczman says, “She told me she had pulled over. We just started getting mom into position. Mom was very adamant the baby was on the way. Mom has had a few babies so I’m sure she knows. So we just jumped right in to instructions at that point. Getting ready to catch.”
A sheriff’s office Sergeant arrived as well, and the team worked together to help mom through delivery. “We’ve got a nice program too that helps us with steps, depending on, childbirth can go all kinds of different ways, so we’ve got a lot of tools. My co-workers were great and they took over my radio traffic so they could make sure the ambulance got there while I focused on mom and baby,” Holczman says. The baby was born quickly. within about 10 minutes of the initial 911 call.
“Seems like everybody was at the right place at the right time. I mean for sure mom would have rather been somewhere else,” Holczman adds.
She says this call is a highlight of her career. In more than a dozen years as a dispatcher she’s taken several calls from birthing moms going into labor. But never one quite like this, where she saw the call all the way through to delivery. “It’s been almost 15 years and I’ve taken a lot of different types of calls but I’ve never had a childbirth where somebody else wasn’t there, an ambulance or they got to the hospital. So this was the first one I got to start and finish and hear the baby crying at the end.” Dispatchers receive a stork pin when they help with a delivery, and Holczman says she’s been waiting for this for a long time.
“There it is! Oh, I can hear it! is it a boy or a girl? It’s a girl. A girl? Congrats!”
Dispatchers rarely get to hear the outcome of those calls for help. “We don’t really get a whole lot of updates once somebody’s off the phone with us. But at the end of the call everyone sounded happy. Mom sounded relieved,” Holczman says.
Mom and her healthy baby girl were taken to Munson, where we’re told they’re doing fine.
The mother declined to be interviewed for this story, according to Munson.