2017-02-17 / Health & Wellness

Public safety dispatcher helps man deliver his wife’s baby

New hire was a week on the job
By Stephanie Sumell


SPECIAL DELIVERY—Ventura County Fire Department public safety dispatchers Katie Farber, left, and Jodie Sewell, right,flank the Dow family: Supreme Dow, his infant son Supreme Jr., and mom Tennisha Dow. Only a week on the job as a 911 dispatcher, Farber coached Supreme over the phone to help him and his wife deliver the baby. 
Courtesy of the VCFD SPECIAL DELIVERY—Ventura County Fire Department public safety dispatchers Katie Farber, left, and Jodie Sewell, right,flank the Dow family: Supreme Dow, his infant son Supreme Jr., and mom Tennisha Dow. Only a week on the job as a 911 dispatcher, Farber coached Supreme over the phone to help him and his wife deliver the baby. Courtesy of the VCFD Katie Farber will never forget the call.

It came in last month, during her first week as a public safety dispatcher for the Ventura County Fire Department.

Oxnard resident Supreme Dow was on the phone and needed help. His wife of two years, Tennisha Dow, was delivering their first child together—in their bedroom.

“This happens maybe three or four times a year, so I was so surprised when I first got the call,” Farber told the Acorn. “He was a little bit excited considering he was helping her have a baby, but he had it pretty together.”

Farber did too.

Though she had been on the job for just a week, the 25-year old had been training for the position since October. Supreme Dow’s 911 call put her new skills to the test.

After getting the Dows’ names and address, the new hire said she used “pregnancy protocol” to coach Supreme, 33, on how to help Tennisha, 37, alternate between pushing and breathing.

Supreme, a holistic nutritionist and personal chef, said Tennisha had initially planned to have the baby at a birthing center in Ventura.

But plans changed as licensed midwives by law cannot assist women who are at 42 weeks gestation, a point at which they are two weeks past their due dates.

A day past her 42-week point, Tennisha went into labor.

“It was ultimately my wife’s decision (to have the baby at home),” Supreme told the Acorn. “My wife wanted that story and wanted our family to share in that experience.”

Supreme said he and his wife had prepared for a natural, drug free delivery, so a home birth was something they felt comfortable with, even if that was not their intention originally.

“When you’re prepared, the pressure isn’t there,” said the dad, who called 911 for added support. “We had worked up to this moment, so when it came we were

Farber was ready to help.

“She assisted me through the process and was that comfortable ear over your shoulder,” he said.

“Knowing she was only seven shifts into her career, it lets me know that she’s a lady who takes what she does extremely seriously.”

Supreme, whose 3-year-old daughter from another relationship was present for the birth, said

Tennisha has a high threshold for pain and “breezed through” her labor.

Supreme Dow Jr. was born shortly after 7 a.m. Jan. 18.

The healthy baby boy was 7 pounds, 10 ounces and 22 inches.

Farber, who got off the line once paramedics arrived at the home, said she was flooded with a sense of relief and excitement after his birth.

“It felt almost unreal,” she said. “It could have been anybody that picked up the phone, and I feel lucky I was the one who got to do that.”

Public safety dispatcher Jodie

Sewell, who has been training

Farber since late December, said she was on the line in case Farber needed her to step in.

She said Farber was able to handle the incident without assistance.

“She did a phenomenal job,” said Sewell, who has helped with three deliveries during her career. “It just goes to show that our training program itself is well-developed, and she has our support from classroom training all the way to floor training.”

Last week, the Dows brought baby Supreme to the dispatch center on Durley Avenue in Camarillo to meet the woman on the other end of the line.

The baby’s dad said his son and wife are both doing well.

“It created bond,” he said of having Farber help guide him through the process. “It impacted her life and it impacted our lives.”

Farber said meeting the family and holding baby Supreme in her arms was a special moment.

“They were very appreciative because I was able to help make that dream they had become a reality,” she said. “To be a part of that was really amazing.”

The dispatcher, who moved to Camarillo from Santa Clarita shortly after taking her position, said helping deliver a baby over the phone makes her feel ready for whatever comes her way.

She credited the dispatch center with giving her the training needed to handle high-risk situations with confidence.

“To be able to handle something like that and do a good job— it felt good,” she said. “If there’s ever a rough moment (during this job) I can always look back on this and think, ‘Wow, that happened.’”

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