Venezuelan doctor turned Dallas teacher helps nurse deliver baby at school


Loren Carcamo planned to spend that winter morning getting ready. The next day, Carcamo would be induced and give birth to her third daughter.

Her day of preparation was interrupted by a call from her older children’s elementary school: 6-year-old Lorette had a fever and needed to be picked up.

Carcamo started feeling pain as she walked up to Kleberg Elementary. By the time she got into the lobby, her water broke.

School nurse Tylar Krause settled Carcamo into her office, setting her up on a low blue cot. Suddenly, it seemed the clinic where students come for headaches, scraped knees and insulin shots transformed into a delivery room.

The school nurse’s clinic and bed where Loren Carcamo gave birth with the help of school nurse Tylar Krause and fifth-grade bilingual teacher Maria Perez Caraballo at Kleberg Elementary in Dallas, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.(Elías Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

Krause had worked in a Baylor Scott & White emergency room during the pandemic. She’s used to dealing with crises, she said, but she had never delivered a baby.

“Please get me someone in here who has at least given birth,” she yelled out.

The school provided her one better.

As Carcamo’s contractions sped up, fifth-grade teacher Maria Perez Caraballo was across campus going over reading lesson plans. She was interrupted by an urgent voice over the intercom, asking her to report to the nurse’s clinic.

“There was a general vibe of freak-out until Ms. Perez walked in,” Krause said. “She was so calm, collected. She was like, ‘Let’s do this.’”

Before Perez Caraballo immigrated to the United States and became a teacher, she was a doctor in Venezuela, delivering hundreds of babies as part of her training.

Perez Caraballo examined the mother, relieved to see the baby was coming head-first. But she could tell she was moving fast, a dark pile of hair about to come into view.

“The baby is going to be born here,” she announced. “We don’t have time.”

Winding road to Dallas

Perez Caraballo delivered babies across Venezuela as she worked her way to becoming an eye surgeon.

By 2016, economic and safety concerns prompted her family to leave their country in search of a better life. They felt they couldn’t “live with that kind of government,” she said.

They went to Costa Rica, where Perez Caraballo intended to stay in medicine. But finding work felt impossible, she said.

“When you leave your country, you need to have an open mind,” she said. “If you can’t follow your path of what things you planned for your whole life, you need to be open to change.”

After about two years of trying, she heard TV promotions for bilingual teachers needed in the United States and saw it as an opportunity.

Dallas ISD – which serves a large population of Spanish-speaking children – often turns to other countries to recruit hard-to-fill slots for bilingual educators.

To Krause, Perez Caraballo’s presence on campus that day felt like fate.

“I’m sorry you had to leave your profession and country,” Krause recently told her colleague. “We’re so blessed you were here.”

Perez Caraballo responded, “I’m glad I could be useful, still, in that area for anybody who needs it.”

Loren Carcamo stands with her newborn daughter Leire, daughters Claire, 8, and Lorette, 6,...
Loren Carcamo stands with her newborn daughter Leire, daughters Claire, 8, and Lorette, 6, alongside principal Amy Zbylut (left), school nurse Tylar Krause (right) and Maria Perez Caraballo, fifth-grade bilingual teacher, at Kleberg Elementary in Dallas, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. Caraballo and Krause helped deliver Carcamo’s baby when her water broke at the school as she was picking up one of her daughters.(Elías Valverde II / Staff Photographer)

‘In shock’

The two DISD staffers – later working with a team of paramedics – got Carcamo ready to push. Perez Caraballo coached her through delivery, in English and in Spanish, reassuring her.

With no pole available, Krause held up an IV bag with her hands. Meanwhile, other school faculty directed students on an alternate route to P.E. class so that no children would wander near the nurse’s office.

Baby Leire came out purple, wrapped in the umbilical cord. Within seconds, though, she started turning pink and let out a cry.

“I was in shock,” Carcamo said.

The school staff clapped and cried, congratulating Carcamo on her strength. Paramedics wheeled mother and newborn through the campus lobby to get them examined in a hospital. As they rolled by, they passed Lorette, now a big sister, her eyes wide.

The kindergartener later told her mother that she thought babies came from the hospital, not from school.

When Perez Caraballo left campus that day, she called her dad.

“You won’t believe what I did today,” she told him.

Dallas elementary teacher and school nurse help parent to deliver baby at Kleberg Elementary.

The DMN Education Lab deepens the coverage and conversation about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

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