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Phoning it in


Dispatcher lauded for assistance with delivering baby boy

by: TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Katlyn Marquess holds 1-month-old Thor Hoffman as she chats with the 911 operator and paramedics who helped her through his delivery.The feeling of gastrointestinal distress that beckoned Katie Marquess out of her bed in the early hours of Wednesday, Aug. 7, turned out to be something quite different.

A baby boy was well on his way.

After about 45 minutes of pain accompanied by the onset of telltale contractions, the Beaverton resident realized Thor Jacob Hoffman — her second child with boyfriend Alex Hoffman — would not be greeting the world from a hospital room.

“I woke up my boyfriend,” she recalled. “There was one big contraction and a big push. Alex said, ‘Let’s get to the car.’ I said, ‘I’m not going anywhere. This is gonna happen right now.’ Alex called the 911 lady and said, ‘He’s coming,’ and there was nothing he could do about it.”by: TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Katlyn Marquess holds her son Thor Hoffman during a reunion to thank the 911 operator and paramedics who helped her during his home birth.

The “911 lady” was Forest Grove resident Lisa Peterson, a telecommunications specialist with the Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency. While Metro West Ambulance and Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue paramedics rushed to the house, Peterson calmly guided Hoffman and Jana Marquess, Katie’s mother and across-the-street neighbor, in a successful delivery of a 9-pound, 3-ounce baby boy, named Thor as a tribute to Katie’s aunt Marnie Harris’ dog

The parties at opposite ends of the line, along with the paramedics who sped Katie Marquess, 34, to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center that night, celebrated their spontaneous collaboration in a ceremony on Friday at the agency’s Northwest Evergreen Parkway headquarters. Peterson’s employers bestowed upon her a blue-colored stork pin for her poise and professionalism on the phone.

“It was pretty exciting meeting the baby and the parents,” Peterson said on Monday. “It’s a very cute baby. (Katie) was just awesome. It was a fun experience to meet them.”

In her six years on the job, Peterson, a mother of four children, has dealt with many calls involving a woman going into labor. This was the first time, however, where she needed to go the extra mile when a baby was not willing to wait for medical help to arrive.

“It’s a rare call to have a baby be born at the other end of the line and hear them,” she said, recalling the experience. “Her boyfriend called in. He was a little nervous but stayed fairly calm.”

After several minutes of back and forth instructions, guidance and encouragement, Peterson, 36, heard a heartrending sound.

“The baby cried,” she said, “and right after that they opened the door. I could hear the paramedics. (Hoffman) said, ‘Well, they’re here.’ I said ‘Congratulations!’ and got off the phone.”

Well aware she was only doing what her job required, Peterson still experienced a rush of feelings when sharing the news with her WCCCA coworkers.

“I felt kind of relieved (paramedics) were there,” she said. “I was just excited we did it. It was like, ‘Ah, we just had a baby boy.’ I was excited, and I did cry a little bit. It was really emotional hearing the baby come out.”

Katie, whose mother was there to catch Thor as he entered the world, praised Peterson and the medical personnel who came through on her big night.

“They were awesome. We were real, real lucky he came out healthy and everything,” she said. “We were lucky my mom was there. She was able to catch Thor. If it had just been Alex, it would’ve been more stressful. The whole thing just worked out really well.”by: TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Katlyn Marquess holds 1-month-old Thor Hoffman as she chats with the 911 operator and paramedics who helped her through his delivery.