TAMPA — Blood and childbirth make Beth Lentz queasy. When she prepared for her own children, she shied away from birthing videos.
But Lentz surprised herself Monday when she helped deliver a baby at the Aetna office in Tampa. After a pregnant co-worker's water broke, Lentz realized it was too late for the hospital.
"This baby was coming very soon," she said Tuesday. "I said, 'You know, we're not taking her anywhere. I'm going to call 911 because she's going to deliver.' "
The woman, a 31-year-old employee whose baby was due next week, was going through a customer service training class when the contractions started, Aetna spokesman Walt Cherniak said.
The woman, whose name has not been released, called her sister to take her to a hospital, but it was too late. She first sat in a rolling office chair, then moved to the conference room floor. One woman held her hand. Several others prepared to help. They saw the baby's head, and Lentz gave orders from the 911 dispatcher, Sarah Elliott.
"I was trying to be as calm as I can, but I was really hysterical inside," Lentz said. "I've been here 27 years, and I never expected to help with something like that here. It was awesome."
Initially, Lentz worried because the baby girl wasn't crying. They checked the baby's breathing. She was doing fine. About that time, emergency workers arrived and took mother and baby to the University Community Hospital Women's Center. Both are doing well, but the new mom declined an interview request, a hospital spokesman said.
Lentz praised her co-workers.
"Boy, just what teamwork," she said. "Everyone pulled together for her."
Abbie VanSickle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813-266-3373.