BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Lisa Peterson is just now seeing the baby she helped deliver last month. She’s not a doctor or a midwife. She’s a 9-1-1 operator, and in her seven years at Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency, she’s never had a call like this.
Dispatcher: "Is she having contractions?"
Dispatcher: "And has her water broke?"
Dispatcher: "How far apart are the contractions?"
Caller: "I don’t know but, the baby , the baby is coming out."
Lisa Peterson got that call Aug. 7. The baby’s father, Alex Hoffman, was on the other end of the line. It was about 2:30 a.m. and his wife, Katie Marquess, was in labor on the floor of their Beaverton home. He said it all happened way too fast.
“The plan was, when she woke up, we were going to go to the hospital, and then the plan changed,” Hofffman said.
The family didn’t know it then, but the 911 operator is a mother of four. Lisa Peterson relied on instincts and training to help mom and dad. She also had to hide her own anxiety.
“I was kind of a little nervous because now we are probably going to actually deliver the baby,” she said.
It only took a few minutes for paramedics to get to the home, but by then, the baby’s grandmother had already “caught” little baby Thor and wrapped him in towels.
The 911 operator who helped guide the family through the labor held on to the line until she heard Thor make his first sounds.
“It was amazing it made me cry,” Lisa Peterson said as she recounted the story with tears in her eyes again.
She and the paramedics who took Katie Marquess and her newborn to the hospital met at the 911 dispatch center Friday night. This time, there was no emergency. Just a healthy baby boy, and a couple of new onesies sporting the logos of the agencies that helped welcome him to the world.