Jan. 9, 2009 -- A Long Island, N.Y., medic is being praised for helping to deliver a premature breech baby whose umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck. What was remarkable is that the medic did it by phone.
Emergency Medical Service dispatcher Christine Springer, who is eight months pregnant, coached 20-year-old Dolores Guidice through her harrowing labor via telephone Tuesday.
Dolores Guidice thanked Springer in person at an emotional ceremony honoring Springer Thursday.
"I just want to say thank you very much because if it wasn't for you my baby wouldn't be alive right now and, just, congratulations," Dolores Guidice said. "She's a miracle, my baby."
The infant girl was named Nevaeh -- Heaven spelled backward.
'Please God Make the Baby Be OK'
By the time Springer received the 911 call at 3 p.m. Tuesday, it was obvious Nevaeh had no plans to wait for an ambulance to arrive.
"My daughter was in the bathroom and the baby came out of her and the feet are hanging out," Dolores Guidice's mother, Debra Guidice, told Springer frantically.
The breech birth was the first Springer had ever handled in her five years as a dispatcher, but she remained calm and steady and gave Debra Guidice instructions through Dolores Guidice.
Under Springer's direction, Dolores Guidice lain on the floor and her mother helped guide the baby out.
"How much of the baby is out?" Springer asked.
"Now her stomach almost," the soon-to-be-grandmother said.
"Her stomach is out? OK keep guiding her out," Springer said.
"Please God make the baby be OK," Debra Guidice said.
It seemed as if the baby would be just fine, but then it got stuck. Springer had the answer.
"OK listen to me," she said. "Have her stand up and bend at the knees and squat and have her push really hard."
Moments later, Nevaeh was born, but not out of danger.
"Is the baby crying or breathing?" Springer asked. A frantic Debra Guidice answered, "No, she's not."
At Springer's prompting, the grandmother noticed that the umbilical cord was wrapped around Nevaeh's neck. Springer guided Debra Guidice in carefully loosening the cord.
"She's crying. She's starting to cry," a relieved Debra Guidice said into the phone. As she pleaded with Springer to get an ambulance to their home, the new grandmother interrupted and said, "Oh, she opened up her eyes. Please, God, let her be OK."
Nevaeh Is Heaven Spelled Backward
With the ambulance crew knocking at the door, Springer told Debra Guidice to leave the baby on the mother's stomach and open the door.
Neveah, who was born at 30 weeks, will remain in the neonatal unit for at least a month while she builds up strength.