Rushed, often unexpectedly early baby deliveries are not something new to any hospital. In most cases though, at least the mother makes it inside the building before giving birth. That wasn't quite the case at Fort Stewart, Georgia's Winn Army Community Hospital in the early morning hours of Jan. 15.
Army Staff Sgt. Aquino Tippett, his wife Rosa, who was eight months pregnant, and their five-year-old daughter Mya had only a few weeks earlier arrived at Fort Stewart following a tour of duty at Fort Campbell, Ky. They were still busy settling into housing here and Rosa had been experiencing periods of uncomfortable contractions for several days, but they all soon passed.
Since her due date was Feb. 3, Rosa wasn't particularly alarmed. But after a phone conversation with a Winn labor and delivery nurse at 3 o'clock on the morning of the 15th, Rosa was told to come in to the hospital as soon as she could.
So Rosa's husband loaded up the family in their car and headed to nearby Winn Army Hospital. "My husband let me out in front of the hospital main entrance while he went in to find a wheelchair," explained Rosa. "I got a few feet from the front door and suddenly felt the baby starting to come out."
And that's exactly what did happen just a few feet from the hospital's main entrance in the frigid morning air. "I caught her about calf-high in my pants leg," Rosa said while pointing to her mid-leg area.
Meanwhile, just a few seconds later Julie Kozel, a Winn Hospital labor and delivery nurse with about 15 years of experience, showed up outside the door, alerted by the Tippett's phone call earlier.
"I got a call that the couple were on their way in so I went down to the lobby to meet them," Kozel explained. "I saw that the mother and father were outside and the father was holding the baby, who I learned had already come out and fallen down the mother's pant leg. I noticed that the baby's umbilical cord had become severed and I knew that the baby could soon bleed out."
She continued, "So I took off my coat and wrapped the baby up in it because it was about 40 degrees out that morning and I grabbed the exposed end of the umbilical cord and squeezed it tight with my fingers. Usually we would clamp that closed before surgically cutting it. Then we got the baby and mother upstairs to the hospital Mother/Baby unit on the 4th floor and everything ended up fine."
So if not for some quick action from nurse Kozel, baby Tippett may have had a different outcome. "I didn't really have time to think about what I was doing. I just reacted instinctively. It may have been the most unusual delivery I've ever helped with," said Kozel.
SSGT Tippet was in an in-processing status at the time of this event and will eventually be assigned to 3rd Infantry Division, 1st Brigade, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"I didn't even have time to think," commented Tippett when asked to describe his thoughts during this dramatic birth.
Much like those stories about giving birth in the backseat of a taxi, the Tippetts will have quite a tale to share with five-pound eight-ounce Ivy Faith when she grows up.