Emergency dispatcher lauded for help with delivering baby boy

The feeling of gastrointestinal distress that beckoned Katie by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Katie Marquess of Beaverton (far right) holds 1-month-old Thor Jacob Hoffman as she chats with the 911 operator -- Forest Grove resident Lisa Peterson (second from right) and paramedics who helped her through the babys birth on Sept. 7. Marquess out of 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.”

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 the successful delivery of a 9-pound, 3-ounce baby NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Lisa Peterson, an emergency dispatcher with Washington County Consolidated Communications Agency, guided baby Thors birth one one end of the phone line.

His name is Thor, as a tribute to Katie’s aunt Marnie Harris’ dog.

The parties on opposite ends of the 911 call, along with the paramedics who sped Katie Marquess, 34, to Providence St. Vincent Medical Center that night, celebrated their spontaneous collaboration in a ceremony last Friday at the agency’s Northwest Evergreen Parkway headquarters in Hillsboro. 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 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, the mother of four children, has dealt with many calls involving a woman going into labor. This was the first time, however, that 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 heartwarming 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.”

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. If it had just been Alex, it would’ve been more stressful. The whole thing just worked out really well.”

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