‘You’re a warrior’: 911 operator meets mom, newborn she helped deliver

UNION COUNTY, N.C. — A Union County mother got to meet the 911 operator who kept her calm and talked her through delivering her baby at home. Channel 9 first shared Samantha Lockhart’s story last week.

Keri Michaels got the 911 call around 3:30 a.m. Lockhart was on the other end of the line.

“911, what is your emergency?” Michaels asked.

“I need a paramedic,” was Lockhart’s urgent reply. “I’m having my baby and I’m not going to be able to make it.”

Lockhart was at her home with only her three young children there with her. Her fourth child was on the way, and Lockhart knew she would not be able to make it to the hospital.

She was out of breath and struggling to communicate with Michaels.

“I got the address out of her after a couple of tries because she was having such a hard time speaking,” Michaels explained. “And then she proceeded to let out this loud wail and I knew she was already in labor and the baby was coming.”

During the 911 call, Michaels could hear the baby crying and said, “You have the baby? OK. You have something warm and dry to wrap the baby in?”

Lockhart told Channel 9 that her contractions started in the middle of the night while her other children slept and her fiancé was at work. Michaels was the only one there to guide her through.

”It’s like God sent her, for me, for this situation. She kept me calm. She walked me through everything,” Lockhart said. “She was definitely amazing. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

Our partners at Good Morning America helped reunite the two women who will forever be connected.

“Listen, I just want to thank you,” Lockhart told Michaels when they met face-to-face.

Her fiancé, Lavante Baker, was also very grateful.

“Keri, you’re the best,” he said.

“You’re welcome, girl,” Michaels told them. “You’re a warrior. You did all by yourself.”

When Lockhart told Michaels that her son, Avante, was healthy and had no complications, Michaels said, “I know -- I heard those lungs! That was incredible.”

Michaels said the experience touched her in more ways than Lockhart had known.

“I will remember this call for the rest of my life,” she said.

Michaels then got to hold Avante.

“Hello, sweetness,” she said. “Your mama is a warrior.”

‘You just have the baby?’: Mom gives birth alone with help from 911 dispatcher

It’s never in the birth plan to deliver a child by yourself, but that’s exactly what unexpectedly happened to Samantha Lockhart.

“I did not think I would have my baby boy on my couch by myself, but God said otherwise,” Lockhart told Channel 9.

Two weeks ago, Lockhart said she woke up in her Union County home to contractions. Within minutes, she said her water broke, so she called her fiancé, who was at work. She then quicky got on the phone with 911.

Lockhart was only on the phone with a dispatcher for a minute and half before her son, Avonte, entered the world at 8 pounds and 5 ounces.

“You just have the baby?” the 911 dispatcher asked her during the call.

“Yes, ma’am,” answered Lockhart.

She did it alone, in just two pushes, while her three other children slept.

Lockhart said the dispatcher kept her calm until paramedics arrived and asked her to get something to wrap the baby in and to check and make sure the umbilical cord wasn’t around the baby’s neck.

“My instincts just kicked in because I’m also in nursing school, so I got on my knees,” Lockhart told Channel 9. “I’m like, ‘He’s coming. I have to deliver him.’ He was my miracle baby because he was perfect. Like, I wiped him off, he did his cry and he’s just lying there staring at me, and I’m staring at him.”

Less than six minutes later, paramedics and Lockhart’s fiancé arrived.

Lavonte Baker’s first photograph of his son was taken on their couch.

“It’s really motivational,” Baker said. “It shows me how strong she is.”

Avonte is Lockhart’s fifth child, so she’s no stranger to childbirth, but she said this experience was different.

“This was a natural birth,” she said. “I had the epidural with my other four. With my baby boy, it was natural birth … It definitely taught me that I’m very, very strong.”

Lockhart said she wanted to share her story to encourage other mothers, especially Black women, who may be nervous about childbirth.

A CDC study from 2018 showed that more Black women die while pregnant compared to white or Latino women. Lockhart said she knew a higher power must have been with her that day.

“I was terrified, but I know God and my guardian angel were with me,” she told Channel 9.

Since May 2020, Union County dispatchers have handled 93 pregnancy complications or labor calls like this -- but it’s unclear how many ended up in a live birth.

(WATCH: Woman gives birth to 29-week-old premature baby aboard flight to Hawaii)