Story and Photo By Rebecca Castellano U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart
STUTTGART – In April, Katherine Gavitt prepared for the unique experience of delivering her third child – this time in a German hospital amid coronavirus restrictions.
She and her husband, Spc. Roger Gavitt, had no idea just how unique this birth would be Gavitt’s best friend, Taylor Hough, helped them map out a birth plan, not knowing how the rapid spread of COVID-19 in Stuttgart would impact their experience. Hospitals were limiting visitors, even family members. Hough agreed to be at her side, if needed.
“We weren’t even sure if Roger would be allowed inside at one point,” Gavitt said, who was preparing to deliver alone.
On April 7, after a prenatal check, Gavitt arrived home at Patch Barracks.
The baby was coming soon, the doctor said, and advised Gavitt to stay home until contractions increased or her water broke. Gavitt expected it to take a while, like her first two deliveries.
The next day, when Hough checked on Gavitt, both women knew – it was time to go.
“We finished packing her bag. I was loading up the car. She started having a lot of pain and suddenly couldn’t walk,” Hough said. “I didn’t feel safe driving her anymore and made the call for an ambulance.”
That turned out to be the right decision. As Hough hung up the phone, Gavitt’s water broke.
“I just kept thinking this isn’t supposed to be how this happens, it’s not supposed to go this fast,” Gavitt said.
Gavitt called out that the baby was coming and Roger ran to his wife’s side. Hough searched for a towel and prepared to deliver her best friend’s baby.
“There wasn’t really time to think or panic,” said Hough, whose natural instincts and training as a certified medical assistant kicked in. “I just got down, supported the baby’s head and talked Kat through it.”
Five minutes later, a little girl, Eritrea Gavitt, was born at home.
The proud father, an information technology specialist with the 52nd Signal Battalion, grabbed a length of 550 cord and tied off the baby’s umbilical cord. Minutes later, German emergency paramedics arrived. Mother and baby went to the hospital for observation. Both were given a clean bill of health.
“It worked out exactly as it was meant to, so I could have the people I needed around me,” Gavitt said.
The experience was something Hough said she’ll cherish forever and hopes never to repeat.
“I worried that Kat would be hurt, or the baby wouldn’t be okay. But, we were really lucky,” Hough said, adding the experience strengthened their bond. “I think we’ll definitely be friends for life now.”