A U.S. Army solider with ties to Douglas recently helped deliver a baby while on duty in Washington.
According to an article written by Somer Breeze-Hanson in the Northwest Guardian, Douglas native Pvt. Marvin Frisby helped deliver a baby as she was coming through the main gate on post March 27 at the Joint Base Lewis McChord located south southwest of Tacoma, Wash.
The facility is part the United States Army's Fort Lewis and the United States Air Force's McChord Air Force Base which merged on 1 February 2010 into a joint base as a result of base realignment and closure commission recommendations of 2005.
According to the article, Dionne Hernandez, an Army spouse stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, was at her mother’s house in Washington when her water broke. Yvonne Chisa rushed her daughter to Madigan (a hospital on base) but the baby couldn’t wait. With the quick thinking and assistance of a 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division soldier and a civilian gate guard, Sophia Hope Hernandez was born at about 9:30 p.m. in the front seat of Chisa’s van.
The article states, Hernandez’s first pregnancy was an easy one. She didn’t experience morning sickness or swelling, and her first contractions began March 27 — Sophia’s birth day. Hernandez was getting out of the shower that evening when her water broke. As Chisa drove Hernandez to the hospital, the mom-to-be could feel the baby crowning as they approached the gate.
Chisa explained to the gate guard her daughter was in labor and parked the van by the guard house while a guard called in a medical emergency. Chisa described the next 20 minutes as mayhem.
Officer William Britton had an hour left on his shift and Pvt. Frisby was on break from guard duty when the van pulled in. Frisby, a soldier with the 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div., is a certified emergency medical technician, but never worked as one. He is the son of Rosa B. Frisby of Douglas.
The article goes on to read that Frisby and Britton ran outside to the van and began directing Hernandez to the back seat of the van where she would be more comfortable, but as Hernandez turned to move, Sophia entered the world. Hernandez caught her in a pajama pant leg and held her there while Britton and Frisby unwound the umbilical cord wrapped around Sophia’s neck.
“It went by really fast,” Frisby told the reporter. “I was just trying to fall back on what the next step was.”
The young soldier had barely served a year before delivering a baby while on duty. He said the experience validated his aspiration to become a nurse, the newspaper article states. Hernandez and Chisa said they are grateful for his initiative during the delivery.
“We have a really good outcome because he did all the right steps,” Chisa said in the story. “If he didn’t act quickly, it could have been another situation.”
“I learned what I was supposed to do, but I had never done it,” Frisby said in the article.
“They took charge of the situation,” Chisa added. “It was so much of a relief to know, even though they said they’d never had a baby birth before, they totally took charge. They made us feel reassured that we didn’t have to worry anymore. They can handle emergencies of all kinds.”
The baby was born Sophia Hope Hernandez. But for the first couple days of life, she was known simply as the “gate baby.”
“They took charge of the situation,” Chisa said in the interview. “It was so much of a relief to know, even though they said they’d never had a baby birth before, they totally took charge. They made us feel reassured that we didn’t have to worry anymore. They can handle emergencies of all kinds.”
The article goes on to read that just minutes after Sophia was delivered, Capt. Aaron Birch, a Madigan emergency room doctor, was entering the gate to start his night shift. He pulled over and assisted Hernandez and Sophia until the ambulance arrived. Once they were settled in at Madigan, word quickly spread about the baby born at the gate.
Hernandez’s husband, Kevin Hernandez, is deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment. The couple planned for Dionne to send Kevin an emergency Red Cross message when her water broke and another message once the baby was born.
After Sophia was born, Dionne notified her husband through a Facebook message, where she also posted a photo of their 5 pound, 15 ounce newborn, the article concludes.