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    The Birth of a Namesake During Pacific Partnership 24-1

    Pacific Partnership 24-1: Baby Delivery in Phonpei

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Navy midwife, Cmdr. Cheryl Castro (far left), poses with several USNS Mercy (T-AH...... read more read more

    Near the Christmas holiday 2023, on a small island in the Pacific Ocean, a young woman prepared for her child’s birth, her emotions obscured behind an unreadable mask. At the same moment, a U.S. Navy midwife entered the delivery room at the last chance she had before going to the next island on her mission. When the day is done, they will share a remarkable bond as strong as steel.

    During a fly-in only mission stop to Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia with Pacific Partnership 2024-1, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Cheryl Castro and other service members provided medical, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief, host nation outreach events and engineering support to the island over a 10-day period.

    “On the very last day, I was able to go to labor and delivery,” Castro said. “A young lady walked in who didn’t seem like she was in labor, but I thought I should stick around just in case.”

    The young woman went in and out of consciousness while being questioned by local nurses. When Castro asked, the nurses told her that the patient was dilated at eight centimeters.

    Ten centimeters of dilation is when the mother has to begin pushing. It didn’t take long before she reached that point.

    The young woman was moved to the operating room in preparation for her delivery. She sunk into the mattress, her mask slipping, revealing the shift of her emotions as the time drew closer. In a single hour, the young woman was on the cusp of becoming a new mother.

    Castro, representing the USNS Mercy (T-AH 19), Pacific Partnership and the United States of America as a whole, stood beside her in support throughout the delivery process.

    “There were no vocal signs of pain, it was almost like she breathed the baby out,” Castro said. “I said happy birthday to him and asked the mother what the baby boy’s name was.”

    The mother didn’t have a name picked out. Traditionally, mothers in Pohnpei don’t name their children at birth, Castro said. “Mothers often wait for the child to grow bigger before giving them a name.”
    Castro jokingly mentioned that her only son’s name is Jacob, bringing some chuckles from the room. Immediately, the mother said, “That’s the baby boy’s name.”

    “To have a baby named after your son creates a strong bond,” Castro said. “Jacob isn’t a common name in Pohnpei, so whenever he or his mom are asked where the name Jacob came from and they say ‘a U.S. Navy midwife came to Pohnpei when I was born to deliver me,’ I think that speaks volumes to the partnerships that we’re building.”

    Now in its 19th iteration, Pacific Partnership is the largest annual multinational humanitarian assistance and disaster relief preparedness mission conducted in the Indo-Pacific. Pacific Partnership works collaboratively with host and partner nations to enhance regional stability in the region, and foster new and enduring friendships in the Indo-Pacific.



    Date Taken: 01.29.2024
    Date Posted: 01.30.2024 17:39
    Story ID: 462687
    Location: PW

    Web Views: 56
    Downloads: 0