A Doula Used Video Chat to Help a Couple Deliver Their Baby at Home

During a historic blizzard on Christmas Eve, a doula assisted a couple who were stranded in their Buffalo, NY home in delivering their first baby over the phone. The father, Davon Thomas, said he struggled to find a way to get emergency services to their house due to the snowstorm after his wife, Erica Thomas, went into labor.

A Doula Used a Video Chat to Help a Couple Deliver Their Baby at Home
A Doula Over the Phone

Thomas stated that after several attempts to reach 911, he was informed by EMTs that several rescue vehicles had attempted to reach him but were unable to due to the snowy conditions. This occurred a day after a driving ban had been issued. In search of assistance, a friend posted in a Buffalo Facebook group for local residents, and he was directed to an experienced doula, Raymonda Reynolds. They connected through a video call. Reynolds, upon hearing Thomas’ worries about his wife’s condition, reached out to her friend, Iva Blackburn, another doula, for additional assistance before getting her to join the video call.

The Parents Did a Great Job

Blackburn recollects that when she answered the call, Reynolds and Davon were on the screen, Reynolds conveyed that they had a dad there whose wife was in labor, emergency services were unable to reach them, and they needed help. He was on the phone, so Blackburn utilized her experience to assess the mother’s condition by asking to see her, and based on her appearance and the sound of her voice, she could determine the stage of labor she was in.

When Blackburn saw Erica on the screen wearing only a sports bra, she knew that the baby was about to arrive. It is a natural instinct for women to remove most of their clothes as delivery is approaching. Both doulas immediately focused on keeping the soon-to-be parents calm throughout the process. Blackburn instructed Thomas to gather materials such as towels, blankets, a flashlight, and a bowl and to put water on the stove. Thomas followed the instructions nervously, and Blackburn told him to stay close to his wife and let her move around as needed while Reynolds provided words of comfort to Erica, reminding her that her body knew what to do.

With the assistance of the doulas, Erica successfully gave birth to her and Thomas’ first child. The group was on the phone for an hour and a half before the baby’s arrival, named Devynn after Erica’s father. Blackburn observed that everyone was shocked in the moments after the baby was born. She then instructed them to turn the phone toward the baby, so she could check on the baby’s condition. The baby was quiet, but its eyes were open. She reassured them to pick up the baby, and as soon as they did, the baby cried, and everyone cheered. Blackburn expressed her pride in how the parents handled their first birth, given the circumstances.