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    Liberty Village baby: New York Guardsman cuts umbilical cord, aids delivery of Afghan baby

    TF Liberty Airmen support medical isolation dormitory

    Photo By Master Sgt. John Hughel | New York Air National Guard Staff Sgt. Scarlett Yates, assigned to the 106th Air...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Francine St Laurent 

    Operation Allies Welcome - Operation Allies Refuge   

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. — The woman’s foot pressed into the top of the Airman’s collar bone where it connected at her right shoulder.

    In the Airman’s other hand was a cell phone, hoisted straight into the air. All ears in the room strained to hear the Pashto translator on the other end.

    The nurse’s words to the Airman when she arrived at the hospital still hung in the air.

    “Are you cool with blood and guts and stuff?”

    “Today I am. Here we go.”

    Staff Sgt. Scarlett Yates had never witnessed a birth before, let alone helped deliver a baby. She’s in logistics, after all.

    “Normally I’m in the warehouse moving boxes or processing something on our supply system.”

    A logistics specialist assigned to the 106th Rescue Wing at Francis S. Gabreski Air National Guard Base, with the New York Air National Guard, Yates volunteered to support Liberty Village at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey, in support of Operation Allies Welcome.

    The Department of Defense, through U.S. Northern Command, and in support of the Department of Homeland Security, is providing transportation, temporary housing, medical screening, and general support for at least 50,000 Afghan evacuees at suitable facilities, in permanent or temporary structures, as quickly as possible. Liberty Village is one of eight secure locations through OAW and is currently supporting approximately 9,300 Afghans.

    Yates was working in a facility for patients in quarantine for infectious diseases. At around 6 p.m. one evening, a pregnant woman and her husband arrived.

    “They had gone to the hospital because she was due,” Yates said. “She started having contractions and she tested positive for COVID.”

    Not dilated enough to deliver, the hospital transported her to the quarantine facility expecting that she would likely deliver the following day. Yates said the woman’s medical paperwork was misplaced during the transport and her medical history was relayed via a translator when they arrived. The husband could understand some English, but the woman could not.

    An hour later, her water broke.

    The medics arrived on the scene to transport her back to the hospital, and the couple asked if Yates could come with them.

    “They were more comfortable with me because I knew their medical history,” Yates said. “Since I did, and since the family was more comfortable with me because they now have known me a little bit more, I ended up going with them.”

    Yates rode in the ambulance with the woman, and her husband rode in a vehicle behind.

    Traditionally, the hospital would call a translation line when you arrive, she said. However, they didn’t have a Pashto translator available. They needed to call back to Liberty Village for a translator.

    It was a busy night at the hospital, with an emergency and two other babies being born around the same time, Yates said. A midwife and nurse were assigned, but there were not the extra staff available to help get mom into a birthing position. Typically, four people assist: one person on each leg to assist with pushing, a midwife or doctor, and a nurse.

    “Because I had to be in there to hold my phone for the translation because they didn’t have anyone that could speak Pashto, I ended up assisting with the birth,” Yates said. “I asked them, ‘What do you need me to help with? How do I need to be of assistance? Just tell me, just give me a job so I can do it.’”

    The baby girl was born at around 3:30 a.m. on September 7.

    “At one point, they asked if dad wanted to cut the umbilical cord,” Yates said. “Dad was OK, didn’t want to cut the umbilical cord, so they actually let me.”

    The nearly Labor Day baby is one of six babies born since Liberty Village opened.

    Yates said the experience bonded her with this new family.

    “It is a very cool process being a part of someone being born,” she said.

    For all Afghan guests in the facility Yates worked in, the experience is one of building trust and learning the personalities and preferences of the families staying there.

    “You get to know them. You get to know their story, what they left behind, what they’re looking forward to, what their citizenship status is,” she said. “You really have that bond. You really know them and what they’re about.”

    The family moved from the quarantine facility back to their temporary lodging this week.

    The babies of Liberty Village begin their lives surrounded by hope for the future. Signs in Dari and Pashto posted around the community read, “Better Every Day!” For this young family, that could not be more true.



    Date Taken: 09.29.2021
    Date Posted: 10.03.2021 09:46
    Story ID: 406586

    Web Views: 403
    Downloads: 1