Bettina Pickett, wife of Navy Lt. Aaron Pickett, holds their newborn daughter a week after the baby's birth. Pickett delivered the baby in their Potomac Place home on Feb. 7 with the help of her neighbor and friend, Dori Welsch.

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. -- Dori Welsch plans to become a doula, a woman who provides nonmedical support during labor and childbirth.

But Welsch never imagined she would be put to the test when her pregnant next-door neighbor and friend delivered a baby at home on Feb. 7.

Welsch, who lives in Potomac Place, had just returned from dinner off post with her three children when Navy Lt. Aaron Pickett telephoned and said his wife's water broke.

Pickett asked Welsch if she would come to his house and sit with his wife, Bettina Pickett, while he prepared to leave for Howard County General Hospital in Columbia.

The plan was for Welsch to baby-sit the Picketts' three children while the couple drove to the hospital.

But when Welsch arrived at about 7:17 p.m., Bettina, 33, was having contractions and asked to go to the bathroom.

"Then she had a pushing contraction," Welsch recalled. "We knew it was going to be pretty soon."

Welsch told Pickett's husband to call 911 because Bettina was pushing and the baby's head had already crowned.

"I was still hoping she would get to the hospital," Welsch said. "I couldn't believe this was really happening."

Welsch said Bettina tried to get into the bathtub, but eventually made her way onto the bathroom floor to deliver the baby.

"I was trying to stay calm for the kids downstairs," Welsch said. "And I tried to make sure that the [umbilical] cord wasn't wrapped around [the baby's] neck."

Within 20 minutes, at 7:37 p.m., the Picketts' second daughter was born.

"She was very calm," Welsch said of Bettina Pickett, whom she has known for more than a year. "This was amazing. She did an awesome job."

Stephen Hyatt and Larry Ansted, paramedics from Kimbrough Ambulatory Care Center, arrived at the house soon after responding to a dispatched call from the Directorate of Emergency Services about a woman in labor in one of the housing units.

"The husband met us at the door and said the baby had already been delivered," Hyatt said. "The mother had done all the work. The mother was upstairs in the bathroom with the baby in her arms. The baby was healthy and pink."

The paramedics cut the umbilical cord and transported mother and baby to Howard County General Hospital, where Jeanne Prins, a certified nurse midwife, delivered the placenta.

The baby weighed 6 pounds, 3.8 ounces.

Pickett delivered at 37 weeks. She said she was having Braxton Hicks contractions (irregular contractions that may occur before labor) throughout the day and decided to lay down that evening.

"But at 6:44 p.m., I had a contraction and at 6:53 p.m. and 7:03 p.m.," Pickett said. "At 7:03 p.m., I told my husband I was in labor and to pack my bags."

Pickett said she delivered each of her four children without the aid of pain-relieving drugs.

"There are a lot of the medications that can cause consequences," she said.

Welsch, whose husband, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Trevor Welsch, works at the Directorate of Human Resources, said she and the Picketts became friends in October 2010 after the family arrived on Fort Meade from a Naval base in California.

Months later, Pickett was helpful when Welsch's son Chase was born in January 2011.

"She was very knowledgeable about pregnancy and nursing babies," Welsch said.

Two days after Welsch arrived home from the hospital, Pickett prepared three meals for the family.

Pickett, who said her newborn is "eating, growing and pooping like a champion," was released with the baby from the hospital on Feb. 8.

She said she is grateful for Welsch's help.

"I appreciate the fact that Dori was able to be here for me," Pickett said.

Page last updated Fri February 24th, 2012 at 12:25