Dispatcher helps Whitewater man deliver granddaughter

WICHITA, Kan. (AP and KWCH) A man in rural Kansas helped his daughter deliver a baby thanks to coaching from an emergency dispatcher.

Harvey County Communications said in a Facebook post that the man called 911 around 3 a.m. Thursday to report that his daughter was about to give birth. The man followed the dispatcher's instructions to help deliver his granddaughter. Firefighters and paramedics showed up seven minutes later.

The post says mom and baby were taken to a Wichita hospital in good condition.

The post praised the dispatcher, as well as the infant's grandfather for "calmly" following instruction.

A follow-up post reported that the grandfather said it felt like the dispatcher "had done this many times before." However, Harvey County Communications said it's the first time any of its dispatchers have helped deliver a baby.

Friday, Eyewitness News spoke with the newborn's mother, Emily Merritt and her father, Jeff Toews, the man being credited as a heroic grandfather for managing to keep calm and help his daughter deliver his granddaughter.

Merritt was staying with her parents outside Whitewater when she went into labor. Things progressed quickly.

"No dilation or anything, and then all of a sudden... Wham," Toews says.

With an ambulance on the way, the Harvey County dispatcher stayed on the phone with the family.

"He walked me through the steps and it was just a picture-perfect birth," Toews says. "It couldn't have worked out any better."

Toews was a firefighter for more than 30 years and had helped a woman deliver a baby once before.

"I was pulled over in the truck that we were driving and delivered that baby there," he recalls. "So I had that going for me. But when it's your own family, the training goes out the window."

Toews is thankful the dispatcher stayed calm through the chaos.

"He was just calm as we are talking right now and then when I found out after talking to his supervisor he had never done this before, I thought 'wow, that's pretty neat,'" Toews says.

The ambulance arrived minutes later to take Merritt and baby Reagan to an area hospital. Emily's husband is serving in the U.S. Army and could not be by her side during the birth. However, he was able to fly into Wichita hours later to complete the family.

Merritt says she's thankful to have a healthy baby girl and a good story to tell.

"You have to give everything to God," she says. "Dad said earlier and it really got me thinking, 'ya, God was behind us there, you know?'' It could have been a totally different story," she says.