Ten months ago a 25-year-old volunteer firefighter with the Williamson County Rescue Squad happened to be at the right place at the right time to help a miracle occur.
Stephanie Curby was living at Station 21, on the corner of Hillsboro and Pinewood roads, when the call came: A pregnant mother in the southwest section of the county was heading to the hospital for a C-section when her water broke.
According to the dispatcher, this was to be the mother’s third child, the baby was breach and a foot was already out.
“This baby was not stopping for anything,” Curby said.
Curby joined firefighter Dennis Tatum in the rescue squad’s SUV. When they left the station, EMS personnel in an ambulance went left and the SUV went right.
“We beat (EMS) to the scene by a few minutes,” Curby said.
When she arrived on the scene, Curby grabbed a medical bag and ran to the woman while Tatum grabbed the OB kit. They were at the woman’s side when the ambulance arrived.
After the woman was placed on a stretcher, Curby, Tatum and a paramedic took their positions and the ambulance began “hauling” to State Route 840 and Williamson Medical Center.
Inside the ambulance, the supervising paramedic was looking through protocol for this sort of situation while Curby sat at the woman’s head, holding her arms and coaching her as the foot be-came a shin then a knee cap and then a thigh.
“She did great and he was fine,” Curby said. “When she delivered, the placenta tore and there was blood all over the stretcher.”
“Somewhere on 840” another ambulance met the first ambulance with the mom and new baby. They quickly switched the mom to the other ambulance while the baby remained with Curby and the paramedic. They would meet up at Williamson Medical Center.
“Once he was born, they became two patients,” Curby explained. “She needed an attendant and the baby needed an attendant.”
After they reunited mom and baby, Curby and the paramedic cleaned up the ambulance and re-turned to Station 21.
“I’ve never delivered a baby; I’ve never had kids,” Curby said. “I hadn’t been living at the sta-tion long, and it was my first ride in with a patient. I remember his little blue foot hanging out there.”
Two days later, Station 21 received word that mother and baby were fine and had been dis-charged from the hospital like any other delivery.
On May 15, Curby received the Star of Life Award, which is given by the Child Emergency Care Alliance of Tennessee. Mom and baby Levi were there to present the award.
“Breach babies never get delivered in the field,” she said. “It was a once-in-a-lifetime event — both the baby and the award.”
Curby says the past year has been “incredible,” but it all really began six years before, in central Florida, when Curby’s mother saw a job opening for a police dispatcher on Facebook.
She was just out of high school and looking for something.
“I took to it like a fish to water,” Curby said. “It was in law enforcement, but I wanted to be a fire dispatcher.”
Once she learned all she could in the 911 call center, she moved to Nashville to be a dispatcher in 2015. During her year in Nashville, she continually heard about Williamson County. She applied for and was hired on with dispatch, where she met some Williamson County Rescue Squad members.
“Most of the calls were EMS medical calls,” she said. “A lot of county rescue squads don’t do EMS.”
Curby joined the Williamson County Rescue Squad in 2017 and fell in love with the job.
“I felt I could breach the gap between dispatch and the firefighters,” she said.
She got her First Responder, Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2 certifications within eight months. Then she took hazmat classes and in May she received her EMT and advanced EMT certifications. She recently applied to join Williamson County EMS.
Curby currently works with a private Nashville ambulance transport three days a week. That al-lows her time to volunteer with the rescue squad and take classes for advancement in her chosen career. She met her boyfriend, who is an EMS responder and a volunteer at the rescue squad.
“Now I’m in class for engineer,” she said. “They’re actually going to let me drive (a fire truck). I love being a volunteer (firefighter). Anybody can do it. There’s something for everybody.”
She says that from house fires to lawn mower accidents to delivering babies, “We never know what we’re going to get.”
Carole Robinson may be contacted at email@example.com.