Deployment's End Brings Dad's First Visit with Guard Couple's Baby

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Public Affairs
Nobody warned Kim Anderson about this.

Oh sure, she understood what it meant to serve as an Airman in a Security Forces squadron in the Michigan Air National Guard. And she knew that the odds were high that either she or her husband Chris, who serves in the same squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, might be deployed to a war zone some day.

No, what she really wasn't prepared for was how much becoming a mom would change her. Especially as she and baby Isabell spent the first five months of Isabell's life waiting for Chris to return from a deployment to Iraq.

"Just knowing that somebody is totally dependent on you 24/7. I'm a mom, it's not about me anymore ... after you earn that title 'mom,' well... " she pauses and sighs. "You know, I never used to get mushy like this."

Kim and Chris Anderson met while both serving in the 127th Security Forces Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in suburban Detroit. Senior Airman Kim has been in the Guard a little over four years. Technical Sgt. Chris is a veteran of service of the Air Force Reserve, the Marine Corps and the Air National Guard. After the couple had been married about a year, she discovered she was pregnant and he found out he was heading to Iraq. He and about 40 other Selfridge Airmen recently completed about a seven month deployment providing security at Baghdad International Airport.

And while Chris was gone, Isabell was born. He witnessed the birth at Hutzel Hospital in Detroit via an internet connection, electronically joining his wife about 10 minutes before the 8 lb. 2 oz. baby was born. Both of Kim's parents, her sister and Chris' mother were physically in the delivery room, all providing moral support to the family.

"The doctors had said if the baby is born crying, that means she is healthy," Kim Anderson said. "All we prayed for was that she would come out screaming.

"When she was born, she was screaming bloody murder. It was music to our ears."
Now, Kim faces a new dilemma.

"When Chris gets home - he's never seen Isabell. Do I hug him first? Do I hand him the baby?" she wondered, figuring when the time comes she'll just know what to do.

In addition to the internet link during the birth, Kim said somehow Chris, who also has a teenage daughter, knew the labor had begun for Isabell.

"I went to the hospital three times because of labor pains. The first two times, they ended up sending me home," she said. "But all three times, as we were on I-94 heading to the hospital, Chris called my cell phone. Somehow, he just knew something was up."

Baby Isabell was one of three babies expected to wives of 127th SFS Airmen during the Baghdad deployment. One other baby was born in the final days of their father's deployment. Thanks to modern technology, forward deployed military fathers are often able to view the birth of their babies via internet links and to have photos of the new baby e-mailed to them of their new son or daughter.  The third expected baby has yet to be born. 

The Andersons live in Mount Clemens. She is now a full-time mom. After his stint of active duty ends, Chris will return to his job as a civilian employee of the U.S. Army. And Kim Anderson is dreaming about the first weekend at home for the whole family - as it happens, Valentine's Day Weekend.

"I've been dreaming for a couple of weeks now that we'll go home that night he gets home and he will sit all night in the rocking chair by her bed and just sit with her," she said.

She does, however, admit to another thought, after her husband returns home.

"He hasn't changed a diaper yet," Anderson said with a wide smile. "So he does owe me a couple."

(TSgt. Chris Anderson made it home on Friday, Feb. 12, 2010 with the first group of security forces Airmen to return from this deployment.)