FATHER HEARS DAUGHTER’S BIRTH AT BRISTOL REGIONAL FROM HALF A WORLD AWAY

Chad Sproles knew he had to call home. He just didn’t know why.

Spurred by a sudden sensation Wednesday morning to check in on his pregnant wife, the U.S. Army private serving in Iraq tried several times to reach family members on cell phones – but to no avail. When his time at the pay phone was up, he ran a mile to the nearest telephone and began dialing numbers again. This time he tried Bristol Regional Medical Center’s New Life Birthing Center.

That call was soon transferred to the delivery room – and just in time. Chad, standing thousands of miles and eight time zones away, was able to hear the birth of his daughter.

“He said he just knew he had to call,” said Dana Sproles, the new mother. “The phone rang about two minutes before the baby arrived, so he was able to experience everything.”

The family had tried to reach Chad all morning, leaving messages and even employing the American Red Cross to find him. But nothing worked. Ultimately, it wasn’t through earthly means that Chad was reached, said his mother, Ruthie Sproles.

“It was a miracle,” she said. “We all believe that.”

The Sproles family knew Chad would likely not be present for his daughter’s birth. The member of the Fort Campbell, Ky.-based 101st Airborne Division has been in Iraq for five months and is not due to return until sometime in March.

“But it was certainly a better feeling to have him on the phone – I knew I wasn’t alone,” Dana said. “Chad may have missed the birth, but he didn’t miss that first cry.”

Prior to Wednesday’s call, the last time Dana had heard from her husband was a few days before when Chad called to assure his family he was unharmed in a helicopter crash that killed two soldiers from his unit.

During Wednesday’s call, Chad was able to hear good news instead of give it.

“It was magical,” said Glenna Harlow, RN, who assisted with the birth. “They wanted to hear from him so bad – it was serendipity.”

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