By Ms. Tywanna E Sparks (Army Medicine)August 8, 2016
Apache repairer Pfc. Samuel Burrus has a claim few fathers can make; he was the attending physician of his son's birth and has the birth certificate to prove it.
The 1st Combat Aviation Brigade Soldier assisted his wife Apollonia with the delivery of their first born son, Samuel Jr., near the front entrance of Irwin Army Community Hospital on July 13.
Earlier that day the couple went to IACH for their 39-week prenatal appointment.
"I was only three centimeters dilated and my contractions were about 30 minutes apart," she said. "I had contractions for about a week but they were not close enough to be concerned."
Hours later their quiet evening turned into a race against time when her contractions suddenly increased to three minutes apart.
"My wife was in the shower when her contractions got really bad," Samuel said. "I called labor and delivery and told them her contractions were very close and they told me to bring her in."
Samuel gathered their 2 year-old daughter, bags and wife for the trip from Manhattan to IACH.
"The hardest part was getting her out of the house and into the car -- her contractions were just that bad," he said. "By the time we passed Whitside Gym on Huebner (Road) she told me to pull over so she could use the bathroom. We had a very colorful car ride and at that point there was no way I was pulling over to let her use the bathroom on the side of the road," he said.
When Samuel pulled into the drop-off area at IACH, he grabbed the noncommissioned officer at the IACH front desk and ran to get a wheelchair to transport his wife to labor and delivery.
As he moved her from the car to the wheelchair, he noticed a bulge in-between her legs.
"She yelled 'the baby is here.'" My first thought was the baby needs room so I took her (wife's) sweats off. She told me that I needed to support his head and guide him out. I thought 'you need me to do what?'"
Despite his initial thoughts Samuel did not hesitate and began to take action.
"I saw the umbilical cord was draped around his shoulders so I maneuvered his arms and body to free him from the cord," he said.
Samuel met his son.
"Medical staff came from everywhere but he was already here. I'm still trying to believe my own story and it's been a few days," he said.
Registered nurse Billi Pryor praised the couple for the successful delivery.
"By the time I was on the scene the baby was delivered by dad, and mom was holding the baby to keep him warm," said Pryor. "In all the excitement dad thought to look at the clock on the dash of his car and was able to give a time of birth."
The couple agreed delivering the baby was a team effort. "We both managed to stay calm throughout the whole ordeal," said Samuel. "She managed to stay calm enough to give me directions. I had to be calm because I needed to be the rock in this situation."
Samuel also gives credit to his military training.
"I'm used to taking orders and used to something needing to be done now."
Their tips for couples who can't make it to the hospital in time: "Just be calm and careful, and don't forget the most important thing -- you're having a baby," Samuel said.
IACH's top enlisted Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Booker also credits Samuel's military training.
"He (Samuel) is a professional Soldier who took his Army training and discipline under pressure and was able to assist in the unexpected birth of his son," said Booker. "We commend his actions in that he remained calm and performed all actions as expected. What a great story that will be shared for many years to come."