Hello World! Pikeville Medical Center helps deployed Soldier view birth

By: Mary Meadowsmary.meadows@pikevillehospital.org, Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2011 (republished with permission of The Medical Leader)

Garrett resident Brittany Michelle Bradley holds her one-day-old daughter Lilian Alice Farmer, whose birth was broadcast via Skype to her father in Iraq.

PIKEVILLE, Ky. — When Kentucky National Guard E-4 Specialist Dustin L. Farmer left Floyd County in July to prepare to serve his country in Iraq, he knew there was a chance he wouldn’t see the birth of his first child.

But the impossible became possible last week at Pikeville Medical Center, where his fiancé Brittany M. Bradley gave birth. Farmer witnessed the birth via Skype video conferencing.

On Oct. 13 at approximately 1:48 p.m., both parents welcomed little Lilian Alice Farmer, weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces, into the world.

“It was awesome,” Bradley said. “It was the best feeling, other than having him come home.”

Farmer’s commander suggested the couple use Skype, an Internet technology that allows people to chat face-to-face, because Farmer could not return home for the delivery.

Bradley brought a small laptop computer when she checked into the hospital with plans to broadcast the birth via Skype, but after her labor was induced at 7:30 a.m. on Oct. 13, she realized the program wasn’t working on her computer.

That’s when the hospital’s Information Systems Department got involved.

PMC Telecommunications Specialists Clinton Coleman and Mike Newsome and technicians Ricky Hamilton and Steven Johnson were informed that a patient was ready to give birth and her fiancé, who was serving in Iraq, was not able to be a part of it.

They brought Bradley another laptop in the delivery room and used a 50-foot monitor cable to hook the computer into a new 32-inch television so Bradley could easily see and talk to Farmer as she gave birth.

“It was definitely a joint effort,” Coleman said. “We didn’t know how long it would be before she gave birth. We were told that she could give birth at any time, so we got everything hooked up for her in 30 minutes.”

Brenda Chapman, director of PMC’s Women and Children Services department, said that staff members were glad to be a part of the experience.

“Our staff was glad to do it,” she said. “It just shows that our staff does care. We have good people here.”

It was the first time that Coleman’s telecommunication skills helped bring a family together during such a delicate time.

“The way we looked at it was that it’s for our troops, and I will definitely do anything I can to help our troops,” Coleman said.

Before leaving the delivery room, he spoke with Farmer.

Proud father: Spc. Dustin Farmer is currently serving in Iraq with Co. A, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry. (Photo by Spc. Robbie Moore, Co. A, 1/149th Unit Public Affairs Representative)

“We said, ‘Hi’ to him and we thanked him for what he’s doing and he thanked us for what we were doing,” Coleman said.

“We made sure it was working well and left them alone so they could enjoy the moment with their family.”

And what a moment it was. A resident doctor at PMC held the computer so Farmer wouldn’t miss a thing.

Bradley said he kept repeating, “This is amazing!” as he watched the birth of his daughter.

“He just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you. You did awesome. You did a great job,’” Bradley said.

She’s thankful he could be a part of it.

“It’s the best thing that could have happened,” she said. “I am very thankful for everyone who helped. This hospital is the best place to have a baby. I choose this place over any other place. …They make me feel like I am at home.”

WomenCertified recently recognized PMC as one of the country’s Top 100 Hospitals for Patient Experience based on female patient satisfaction.

When asked, via text message the day following the birth, about what he wanted Medical Leader readers to know about the experience, Farmer bragged on his fiancé.

“I have the greatest fiancé and she is very strong to go through this without me,” he wrote.

The high school sweethearts dated for four years, broke up briefly and got back together in November 2010. Bradley said they planned to have Lilian “in case he didn’t come home” from his service in Iraq.

She can’t wait for him to return home to her, Lilian, and her other daughter, 18-month old Haylee Maria.

“I wonder how old Lilian will be when he finally gets to meet her,” she said.

She wants people to keep American troops serving in other countries in their prayers.

“Pray that they come home,” she said. “They go through a lot, they really do. He’s working away from home, away from his family, for everyone else’s freedom.”

Bradley, 21, and Farmer, 24, grew up in Harlan County and currently reside in Garrett.

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