Jessica Taylor delivered son Aidan at her home in June, with the help of husband, Aaron, who was being coached by Clovis 911 dispatcher Carolyn Aragon. Photo by Darrell Todd Maurina.
When Airman 1st Class Aaron Taylor went into the Air Force on June 19, 2002, he knew he might have to deal with close friends screaming in pain due to events beyond their control.
He just didn’t think it would be his wife, giving birth to their second child on the floor of their home, exactly one year after he began his military training.
“We weren’t expecting it to happen,” said Jessica Taylor. “I’d been telling the doctor things didn’t seem just right.”
When contractions woke her up in the middle of the night, Jessica tried to time them. Within 20 minutes, she realized the baby was coming right then and her husband called the Curry County 911 dispatcher about 2:15 a.m.
Aaron Taylor reached Carolyn Aragon, the night shift 911 dispatch supervisor, a mother of two children — and more important for the Taylor family, a trained emergency medical dispatcher.
Aragon, a nine-year veteran of Curry County dispatch, keeps a special book of medical directions next to her 911 phone station. While she’s had to respond to medical emergencies before, most recently talking a caller through cardiopulmonary resuscitation at a crash scene for 30 minutes before paramedics arrived, she’d never helped deliver a baby before.
Getting people calmed down is one of the first things dispatchers are trained to do, but Aragon knew that wouldn’t be easy.
“I can just imagine the pain with no family around and no painkillers,” Aragon said. “When the father called me on 911, she was screaming in the background so I knew it hurt real bad. We got him calmed down, then a friend got on the phone, and when she showed up, the man got even calmer.”
That friend, Bridget Sikes, is the wife of a technical sergeant in Taylor’s 27th Equipment Maintenance Squadron. Once Sikes arrived, Aaron Taylor gave her the telephone and had her pass along Aragon’s directions while he helped his struggling wife.
Aragon said the Taylors became particularly frightened when their baby’s head came out but the baby wasn’t breathing.
“He kept asking what to do; I told him to clean and dry the mouth with a dry towel and wipe the mouth,” Aragon said.
While Aragon immediately dispatched an ambulance, severe rainstorms outside didn’t make things any easier. The Taylors wanted to know where the ambulance was, but all Aragon could do was keep the ambulance updated on Jessica Taylor’s condition and keep the Taylors updated on how close the ambulance was in coming.
“The ambulance can only go so fast in the rain,” Aragon said.
By the time the ambulance finally got to the Taylor home at Cannon Air Force Base, the baby had been fully delivered 15 minutes earlier and the only thing left to deliver was the placenta.
Aaron Taylor said Aragon’s encouragements were quite helpful.
“That was one of the things that made me feel calm,” he said. “People have done this for thousands and thousands of years without being in a hospital and that made me feel a lot better.”
Jessica Taylor and her new son Aidan spent a day at Plains Regional Medical Center after the birth, but a check of baby and mother showed no problems.
“People have been asking how I didn’t make it to the hospital, people didn’t understand how it could all go that fast,” Jessica Taylor said. “My first delivery was fairly easy, it only took three to four hours so I knew this one would be easy, but it only took an hour.”
“Next time we’ve been joking we will spend the whole nine months in the hospital,” laughed Aaron Taylor.
That won’t happen, but just in case, the couple said they will stock emergency birth supplies in their home if they are expecting a third child.
After Jessica Taylor’s ambulance reached the hospital, Aragon moved on to other work. The rainstorm was making things difficult for her colleagues, and it wasn’t until last week that she learned the outcome of the delivery and passed it on to her fellow dispatchers.
“I’m just glad the baby was healthy and simply hearing that made everybody here feel good,” Aragon said. “Maybe they’ll bring the baby here one of these days — we’d all like to see them.”