An unplanned home birth had a happy ending.
The night of September 18 will long be remembered by three people: a woman named Elena who was in labor that night, her husband, Giovanni, and an emergency telephone operator in the city of Genoa, Italy, named Daniele Asso, who shared with them the unusual experience of an improvised home birth, as recounted by Italian news outlet Il Secolo XIX.
A few hours earlier, Elena, pregnant with her second child, visited a local hospital and was sent back home when it seemed that labor was not imminent. Once back home, however, labor came on suddenly, and was progressing so rapidly that her concerned husband called 118 (the local equivalent of 911). The man who answered the phone, Daniele, was a nurse, who with great calm and a professional attitude was able to manage the husband and wife’s anxiety and give them the basic instructions they needed to face their situation as well as possible.
He told Elena to breathe deeply and to push when she felt the contractions; he told Giovanni not to try to force the newborn to exit from the womb, and to be careful to grasp the baby well at the moment he emerged, because the child would be wet and slippery and easy to drop. Then came the last important instruction: “You should support his head and back, and hold on well to his sides and his legs.” Shortly afterwards, Giovanni told the operator that he could see the baby’s head, and just a few moments later, the baby was completely out. The miracle had happened!
A sigh of relief
The nurse inquired to be sure that the baby’s legs had come out, too, and asked, “Is the baby crying?” when the mom and dad said “yes,” they could all finally breathe a sigh of relief. The mother asked the nurse/operator what his name was, and the baby, who weighed 8.4 lb at birth, was given three names: Eugenio Leonardo Daniele, the third in honor of the operator who helped him come into the world. An ambulance arrived moments later, and the technicians took care of the rest.
Commenting on how fast it had all happened, Daniele joked, “The second child just takes a minute [to come out], and the third, you can do just by coughing hard.”
In the following days, Giovanni went to the emergency call center to meet the nurse who had remotely piloted this incredible adventure to a happy ending, and Daniele in turn went soon after to meet Elena and little Eugenio.
Our most heartfelt congratulations to Giovanni and Elena! In Italian, Daniele’s last name, Asso, refers to a town in northern Italy, but it also means “ace.” On this occasion, he was an ace up the parents’ sleeve—they were lucky at that moment to have such a capable and calm nurse on the other end of the line!