A Pennsylvania woman finally got to meet the 911 operator who helped her through childbirth.
Charlotte Fatoma met 911 dispatcher Elyce Rivera for the first time on the Today show Tuesday, where the two women had a sweet in-person introduction. Fatoma had called 911 last month while driving herself to the hospital to deliver her baby, but found she was going into labor in her car.
Rivera, who was only four weeks into her job when she picked up Fatoma's call, successfully guided her through the delivery of a healthy baby girl — whom Fatoma named Elizabeth Elyce in honor of the operator.
Fatoma had been working as a nurse at an assisted living facility when she began to experience contractions and started her drive to the hospital. As a mother of two children, she assumed she would have enough time to make the 40-minute drive, but when she hit traffic on the way, Fatoma knew she had to call 911, she told Today.
"Once I hit the exit, traffic was so long," she said. "I'm like, 'Oh my god, I'm never going to make it there.' "
Thankfully, Rivera was on the other end of the line to talk her through the delivery. While the dispatcher said Fatoma was "scared" and "panicking," Rivera calmed her down.
"She's just screaming," Rivera recalled. "So what I told Charlotte was that everything that she's feeling, her baby is feeling. And I didn't want her baby to go into distress, so that's why I kept telling her, 'Just take deep breaths.' "
When her contractions were coming every two minutes, Fatoma said she "couldn't bear it anymore," but Rivera "was very calm" and told the expectant mom to pull over to the side of the road and prepare to give birth.
Fatoma told Today, "She told me to position myself in the car, move the seat back, push yourself all the way to the edge of the chair, put your legs up, prop yourself, and make a way for that baby."
Just as Fatoma gave birth to Elizabeth and the baby began to cry, an ambulance arrived on the scene, Today reports. Rivera could hear the moment on the other end of the line, and began to get teary-eyed.
"I felt very happy. I felt very emotional. So I had to lift my mic up. My eyes got watery," she said.
While Rivera was overcome with emotion that day, Fatoma told Today she is extremely grateful for her help, saying, "Elyce, the 911 operator, she is an angel in disguise. She was wonderful. She treated me so kind."
During their Today show appearance, Fatoma asked Rivera if she would like to be the baby's godmother. Rivera, who got to hold baby Elizabeth for the very first time, joyfully accepted.