Dispatcher Talks Woman Through Delivering Her Own Baby During Hurricane Irma

by Morgan Brinlee
Christopher Furlong/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Babies don't wait for hurricanes. With paramedics trapped by approaching Hurricane Irma, a pregnant woman in Florida delivered her own baby at home Sunday morning as a 911 dispatcher talked her through the birthing procedure, the Miami Herald has reported. Both mother and child were lated taken to a nearby hospital by emergency workers.

Assistant Fire Chief Eloy Garcia told the Miami Herald that extremely strong winds from Hurricane Irma had left Miami's first responders and rescue crews unable to respond to every emergency call they received. Among the calls emergency personnel had, unfortunately, been unable to respond to was one from a pregnant woman that had gone into labor in Miami's Little Haiti neighborhood.

"We weren't able to respond," Garcia told the Miami Herald. Instead a 911 dispatcher, with the help of the 911 Dispatch Center's assistant medical director, talked the woman through the delivery process. In the end, the woman delivered both her child and the afterbirth at home on Sunday morning. "She's stable at home," Garcia said.

The newborn was later revealed to be a girl by the city of Miami's official Twitter account. No word yet on whether "Irma" was a name under consideration by the mother.

In preparation for the storm, expectant mothers who are at least 34 weeks along or have a high-risk pregnancy were urged to seek shelter from Hurricane Irma at medical facilities. Doing so was meant to serve as a precaution in case they went into labor or experienced any problems during the storm. More than 500 pregnant women are reported as currently being sheltered at medical facilities in or around the Miami region. The Miami Herald reported some 200 women were being sheltered at four Baptist Health South Florida facilities while another 300 women waited out the storm at Broward County hospitals in the Memorial Healthcare System and 28 expectant mothers sheltered at three of Jackson Health System's facilities.

Yet the child born at home Sunday morning in Miami's Little Haiti isn't the only babe to decide that, hurricane or not, they were coming into the world. According to the Washington Post, at least five babies were born as Hurricane Harvey bared down on Texas' Gulf Coast.

One woman in Southwest Houston was saved from having to deliver her baby at a Marriott Courtyard hotel by men in a city dump truck who ferried her safely to a nearby hospital as her contractions grew just minutes apart. Another woman in Corpus Christi braved the storm to reach Corpus Christi Medical Center-Doctors Regional, where she delivered as Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc outside. According to the Post, another baby was delivered by medical personnel at a private home while two other babies were delivered by Caesarean at another hospital in Corpus Christi.

Earlier this weekend Florida officials ordered more than 6.5 million people to evacuate the state, citing Hurricane Irma's potential for deadly destruction. Hurricane Irma restrengthened to a Category 4 storm just before it bore down on the Florida Keys, making landfall Sunday morning at Cudjoe Key.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Irma is expected to remain a major hurricane as it moves along Florida's west coast, bringing with it violent winds and life-threatening storm surge. "The threat of catastrophic storm surge flooding is highest along the southwest coast of Florida, where 10 to 15 feet of inundation above ground level is expected," the National Hurricane Center warned Sunday. "This is a life-threatening situation."

Although Irma had yet to hit South Florida as of Sunday morning, her presence could clearly be felt as extreme winds and rain caused widespread power outages.