A third class petty officer from Carrier Air Wing 3 checked into the carrier's medical clinic after stomach pains Saturday. Nine hours later, in the early hours of Sept. 11, she gave birth to a healthy 7-pound baby girl, according to an internal memo on the incident obtained by Navy Times.
“Both the mother and the baby are healthy and are doing well,” 5th Fleet spokesman Cmdr. Bill Urban said of the new family on the carrier in the Persian Gulf.
Neither the mother nor her command knew she was pregnant before Saturday, Urban said. Normally pregnant service members would leave an operational command at 20 weeks and would certainly not deploy.
As soon as it became apparent they were going to have a baby on board, the Ike flew out diapers, formula and an incubator to the ship to care for the infant, whose name is being withheld for privacy concerns, as well as that of the mother.
“As the baby was born at sea aboard an operational unit, the main focus for the U.S. Navy, the ship and its crew is the safety and well-being of the baby and the mother," Urban said in an email.
After spending her first hours in the world on board a U.S. aircraft carrier at war, the baby also got her first ride on a helicopter when both mother and child were airlifted to Bahrain with a medical escort. They are currently on their way to a local hospital, Urban said.
“While it would have been preferred to send her to her homeport earlier, per policy, we are now focused on caring for the health and welfare of our sailor and the newest member of our Navy family,” Urban said.
Happily, the Ike had the right medical professionals aboard for just this sort of contingency.