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‘Angel in Disguise’: Pennsylvania Mother Meets 911 Operator Who Helped Her Deliver Her Daughter Roadside

A Pennsylvania mother and 911 operator are forever bonded.

“We started up as strangers and now we’re forever connected,” said Charlotte Fatoma. The assisted living facility nurse had no idea that a routine workday last month would be turned upside down by going into labor. 

Charlotte and her daughter Elizabeth Elyce Fatoma reunite with 911 operator Elyce Rivera. Photo: The TODAY Show/Screenshot

Under the impression that she would have ample time to drive herself 40 minutes away to the hospital, Fatoma hit the road only to be met with traffic. “I’m like, ‘Oh my god, I’m never going to make it there,’ ” recalled Fatoma of her immediate thoughts. With traffic at a standstill her only other option was to call 911.

Elyce Rivera took the call. She said she had no idea the woman on the other end was in labor. “I thought she was in a car accident because she was panicking,” she said during a “TODAY Show” interview. “And then she said, ‘I feel like I’m dying, I feel like I’m dying!’ ”

Rivera had only been working as a 911 operator for four weeks; Fatoma’s call just so happened to be the last one of her shift on that fateful day. Once aware that she was speaking to a distressed mother, Rivera did her best to calm Fatoma and guide her safely from the flow of traffic. “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.’ ”

Once on the side of the road, Fatoma was coached through the process of safely bringing her daughter into the world. “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,” said the mother of two. Just as her daughter was delivered, an EMS crew showed up on the side of Interstate 476. But without the help of Rivera, Fatoma has no idea how she would have managed the birth of her child on her own. 

“She is an angel in disguise,” she said. “She was wonderful. She treated me so kind.” Rivera, still blown away by the ordeal said, “I’ve never helped with a baby delivery over 911, that was my first one. That’s like an early Christmas gift to experience something like that.”

The holiday moment was made even merrier when Rivera, Fatoma and her daughter named Elizabeth Elyce in honor of Rivera were reunited — this time in person — while sharing their story with the world. The heartwarming encounter was sealed with Fatoma asking Rivera if she would be baby Elizabeth’s godmother. Her response was an overjoyed, “Oh my God yes!”


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