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A Soldier Makes It Home in Time for His New Daughter

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How often have we heard about soldiers being half way around the world when their wives are having a child alone in a hospital while they are on a tour of duty? It happens on a regular basis, and unfortunately many enlisted soldiers have had to carry through their work and their assignments regardless.

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Army Sergeant Zach Shryock was no different from anyone else. In fact, while Shryock was fully aware of his wife’s pregnancy prior to being sent overseas, and he was also aware that his next return was not going to be until at least a month after her due date. She would have their child alone in Atlanta, GA, even without any other family nearby. Again, this was not an uncommon situation for soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.

However, Shryock actually got lucky. A number of soldiers were selected for early demobilization from Afghanistan and to return back to the U.S. Shryock was picked and would be able to get back maybe in time for his first child’s birth and due date. Unfortunately, to make things more complicated, Shryock’s child decided the birth was going to happen sooner.

Shryock’s wife, Brittany realized her water broke early and she went into labor well before the duty date. In the meantime Shryock was heading back on a series of plane trips and legs from the Middle East back to the U.S. Shyrock found out his wife’s condition by phone as he arrived in North Carolina, tired and beat up from two day’s worth of air travel and little sleep. Instead of going at a casual rate, he was running on caffeine and worn boots waiting for a connection from North Carolina to Georgia to get to the hospital Brittany was checked in at.

Only on a day like this would a plane in the same airport hit a deer on the runway, delaying Shryock’s Atlanta flight even longer. An hour and half later he was finally in the air and heading to Georgia. In the meantime, Brittany was almost fully dilated and already resigned to the fact that her husband was not going to be able to make the birth.

When Shryock’s plane landed he sprinted out of the arrival gate to a waiting friend in a car and dashed to the hospital. The hospital staff, already in on what was going on, welcomed Shryock with a big celebration and scooted him right into the waiting room with Brittany just in time for the birth. The timing was literally the last few minutes before the birth was to occur. Brittany was now relaxed, well into an epidural to reduce her labor pain, and the baby was on its way.

A half hour later, Zach Shryock was the proud father of a baby girl, Myra. She was born 5 pounds, 7 ounces, and long at 19.5 inches. Shryock held his baby girl and his wife and through luck, amazing grace, a higher power, and everyone’s help, he and Brittany were able to be together at one of the most important moments of their lives.

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