Courtesy The Medical Leader, Pikeville Medical Center
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — When Sergeant First Class Jason Rhodes and his wife Samantha found out they were expecting their first child, they were ecstatic.
Unfortunately, they were about to walk out the door to attend a conference in Lexington for families facing deployment.
“I had taken a test that came out negative, so I threw it in the trash,” recalled Samantha. “The next morning before we left I happened to look in the trash can and noticed a faint positive sign on the pregnancy test. When we got to Lexington, I took another test and set it on the bathroom counter. A few minutes later, Jason came out holding it in his hand.”
The couple was excited to grow their family, but Jason, an SFC in the Kentucky Army National Guard, would be leaving in less than two months for a deployment to Djibouti, Africa.
Samantha began seeing the physicians at Pikeville Medical Women’s Care Center for prenatal care and Jason was able to attend the first ultrasound before he left.
“Growing up, I always thought about my wedding day and the day I would have a baby,” Samantha said.
“I knew the delivery wouldn’t be what I dreamed about, because Jason wasn’t going to be a part of it. He never got to feel the baby kick, and you never get those moments back. It was so important for me to have him be a part of it.”
Even though Jason is more than 7,000 miles away, Pikeville Medical Center made it possible for him to be a part of the birth.
The hospital was able to set up a television used to SKYPE Jason the entire time Samantha was in the hospital.
SKYPE is a form of technology used to facilitate communication with others using a webcam.
Samantha said, “I arrived at Pikeville Medical Center to be induced on a Wednesday night at 10 pm. Within 30 minutes, we were talking to Jason. We were able to talk the entire time.”
When the decision was made to go to surgery, the hospital transferred the necessary SKYPE equipment into the operating room. PMC OB-GYN Dr. Rick Mcllelan was on-call and delivered the baby by c-section.
“Having Jason there, actually being able to hear him talk in the operating room put my nerves at ease. There are so many men who aren’t able to see their children until after they leave the hospital, and my husband was in Africa and witnessed the whole thing,” Samantha said. “He was speechless and we can’t thank the hospital enough for that moment.”
Caleb Michael Rhodes was born on April 5, 2013, weighing in at 9 lbs, 5 oz.
The SKYPE didn’t stop after the baby was born. Jason was able to stay connected with his new family during their stay at Pikeville Medical Center.
He watched as they brought his newborn son into the room for the first time, his first feeding and his first review from the pediatrician.
“It was something I will never forget. It was the best few days of my life,” Jason said via text-messaging.
“I can’t thank the hospital enough. The Information Systems department, Public Relations, Rita Crum, all the Labor and Delivery nurses, Dr. McClellan and the physicians at the Women’s Care Center, everyone was amazing,” Samantha added.
“We are so grateful, and the experience was more than I could imagine.”
Both mom and baby are doing well. Samantha says they SKYPE Jason at home every day. Jason is scheduled to return home at the beginning of June.
Samantha is the daughter of PMC speech language pathologist Camilla Damron and her husband Rick Damron. Her father is Bobby Davis. She is the granddaughter of PMC chaplain Kaminski Robinson and board member Jo Nell Robinson.
Jason is the son of Terry and Dan Rhodes of Mt. Sterling and the grandson of Karen and Pat Middendors.