When Cortney Gaddis was 24 weeks pregnant and started to give birth in a parking lot, she knew she needed help – and fast.
“I knew if I had a baby right then, it wouldn’t have made it,” she remembers about the night of Jan. 10.
A calm 911 operator knew exactly what to do.
“This was a one-of-a-kind (call),” said Medstar operator Rebecca Sims.
Gaddis, 20, of Fort Worth, had driven to a medical clinic on North Beach, but the clinic was closed. She found herself starting to give birth in the parking lot.
A nurse getting off work stopped to help and called 911.
911: “Can you see any part of the baby now?”
Woman: “We can't see the baby, we can see the cord.”
911: “The umbilical cord?”
"I was trying to do whatever I could to relax and get someone who could help me deliver this baby,” Gaddis said. “I knew the baby was coming!"
911: "We want her to roll over and get up on her elbows and knees."
CALLER: "Get up on your elbows and knees please, sweety.”
"I just walked them through the steps,” Sims said.
911: "Listen to me, okay? If anything changes or if the pulse stops or slows, tell me immediately. I'll stay on the line until help arrives."
"I just knew there was somebody on the other end of the line who was saving my baby,” Gaddis said.
Paramedics arrived in less than four minutes.
CALLER: "They're here!"
911: "They're there now?"
CALLER: "They're here now!"
911: "You did a great job, okay?"
At the hospital, doctors performed an emergency C-section.
Christian weighed in at one pound, six ounces. He's faced a number of medical challenges since then but could go home in a few weeks.
"It's amazing how far he's come,” Gaddis said.
For her work, Simms won a national award and went to Las Vegas last week to receive the honors.
"It was pretty neat,” she said.
Gaddis said she would like to meet Simms one day to personally thank her for saving her son’s life.
"If something went wrong there, he wouldn't have made it to the hospital,” Gaddis said. “That call was so important."