Dakota County dispatcher helps Eagan woman deliver healthy baby at home

Angela Reinders knew her baby was on the way soon, but she thought she had a little more time.

Yet as her contractions came faster and faster around 4:30 a.m. Saturday, it began to dawn upon her that she might have to give birth at her Eagan home instead of at the hospital.

"I thought to myself, 'I can't leave the house without an ambulance,'" Reinders tells Fox 9. "I went to the bathroom and my water broke, and knowing that can change the direction and speed of how things go, I thought, 'I'm going to stay here.' I told my sister [Melisa Sturman] who had just arrived to take care of my toddler to call 911, because either I'm going to have the baby right now or I want to be in the hands of medical professionals."

"I don't want to have my baby on the side of the freeway," Reinders adds. "So that's kind of what was going through my head."

Given those challenging circumstances, the fact little Margaret Josephine was delivered without incident is remarkable.

Reinders gives the credit to her sister and dispatcher Matt Ausmus for guiding her through things and keeping her calm.

"I really credit my sister and the 911 operator for all the success of having a complication-free birth," she says. "They really get all the credit -- I just pushed."

Cheryl Pritzlaff, operations director for the Rosemount-based Dakota Communications Center, says 911 operators are trained for unusual circumstances like the one Ausmus faced Saturday morning.

"Dispatchers are prompted to ask a series of questions created by a group of doctors from a national academy, which leads to a more specific diagnosis," Pritzlaff says. "With a pregnancy, we ask if it's their first delivery, how many minutes are the contractions apart, any serious bleeding, and if the baby is in fact at the stage of delivery then we go through the instructions on how to deliver the baby and treat the [umbilical] cord afterward, if it gets to that point."

In Reinders's case, it did indeed get to that point. Margaret Josephine had more or less been delivered by the time paramedics arrived to transport the healthy mother and daughter to a nearby hospital.

"My sister was able to make a stressful situation very calm and she was able to trust him 100 percent," Reinders says. "With the instructions he was giving, she could just focus on execution."

Pritzlaff also praised Ausmus and Reinders's sister for a job well done.

"One of the supervisors [who listened to the call] said the sister was extremely calm and kept the mother calm while she's going through all that," Pritzlaff says. "Sometimes these sorts of calls are chaotic. This one was not."

Asked how often dispatchers have to help a mom give birth over the phone, Pritzlaff replies, "I don't want to say it's common, but I think the EMS council gives the dispatchers what's called a stork award pin, either blue for a boy or pink for a girl, and I think since 2007 we've assisted with maybe 10 to 15 childbirths."

Back home with her healthy newborn, Reinders says she feels incredibly lucky about how everything turned out.

"Really it was just instinct and adrenaline that kicked in," she says. "You're in a situation where you don't know what's going to happen, you're dealt a hand, and this is what you have to do. Sometimes you just gotta trust your instincts and everything will turn out."