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Wichita dispatcher, fire crew assist couple through roadside birth of baby

Clinton Wiley, a 26-year-old Sedgwick County 911 dispatcher, is still new to the job.

County fire Lt. Robert Timmons has responded to every kind of emergency in the past 18 years but had never dealt with a woman giving birth in the cab of a pickup sticking out into a highway.

Friday morning, both men found themselves dealing with just that.

It started around 6:20 a.m. when Wiley took a call from a man with a Spanish accent so thick it was difficult for Wiley to understand him.

One thing became clear: The man had been trying to take a pregnant woman to a hospital. But the baby wasn't waiting and was about to be born in the cramped pickup in a westbound lane of K-254 near Hillside.

Emergency crews were on the way, but the baby was already arriving as Wiley handled the 911 call.

To Wiley, the man seemed relatively calm at first, but soon sounded frantic as the woman cried in pain.

Following his training, Wiley tried to talk the man through the birth. Despite the language barrier, Wiley tried to communicate a few things to the man: Make the mother as comfortable as possible. Don't let her cross her legs or do anything else that might prevent the birth.

As the baby started to come out, the man told Wiley, "It looks like a bowl." Apparently the man was seeing the baby's head crowning.

It seemed like only about a minute passed before Wiley heard the man say a few more words, something like, "The baby's out."

Right after the birth, the fire crew arrived and took over.

There had been some confusion about exactly where the couple was located, partly because of the language barrier.

Right away, the fire crew used a truck to shield the small pickup and keep other vehicles from slamming into it. It sat more on the highway than off. Timmons could only assume that the man stopped in such a hurry that he didn't get fully off the highway.

It was a cold morning, and passing vehicles had been spraying mist onto the truck where the mother and her newborn son lay across the small bench seat.

The man who had been on the phone with the 911 dispatcher, who had been frantic minutes before, had a grin on his face when the firefighters arrived.

The fire crew found the baby lying on his mother's abdomen. The skin-to-skin contact was keeping the baby warm as firefighters worked to make sure the baby's mouth, nose and airway were clear. Firefighters leaned into the cab from both sides.

As they prepared to cut the umbilical cord, an EMS crew arrived, and the crews worked together, tending to the mother and child.

The two went by ambulance to Wesley Medical Center. Both were doing fine later Friday, said hospital spokeswoman Amy Dillard.

The firefighters were happy it turned out so well, Timmons said.

Wiley, the dispatcher, agreed.

"You know, this job, sometimes you get calls where you can't save somebody,'' he said. "This was the flip side of the coin.

"It was just a refreshing thing.

"It was just a good thing to bring a new life into the world."