Soldier unexpectedly returns home for son's early birth

Friday, May 11, 2012 | 9:44 a.m. CDT; updated 11:08 a.m. CDT, Friday, May 11, 2012

KANSAS CITY — When Jamie's contractions start and it's time to go to the hospital, Grandma, you stay with little Aly. Grandpa, you get the bags and drive Jamie to Belton to meet her mother, who will then drive her to Shawnee Mission Medical Center.

Sounds solid, right? Everybody good?

None if it happened. This thing would play out in the middle of the night with Jamie Goldsmith on the bathroom floor at the old family farm in Cass County. Grandpa Perry Sanders would drive his Cadillac to the end of the long lane to flag down an ambulance.

And Grandma Louise would fetch blankets and poke her head through the bathroom door to ask, "Is this baby really going to come right now?"

Yes, he is, and yes, he did. Noah Allen Goldsmith had a plan of his own. All 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and 18½ inches of him.

Someday his daddy will tell a story about how he was in the Army and barely, and unexpectedly, made it home from Germany in time to see Noah born.

Really see him born. A prime seat. Right next to the toilet in that cramped little bathroom, with Jamie's head out in the hallway.

Tim Goldsmith, 25, who is headed to Afghanistan later this month, delivered his son. Even yanked a shoelace from his sneaker to tie off the umbilical cord.

The very next day, Tim was promoted to sergeant.

The delivery duty had absolutely nothing to do with the promotion, but years from now when Tim tells Noah about that night, it may well be a key factor in his rise through the ranks.

About 3 a.m. on a recent Sunday, on a wooded hilltop south of Peculiar, Jamie Goldsmith, 24, awakened. Contractions. Her baby wasn't due for another week, but she'd been through this before. Her firstborn, Aly, now 2, was in the next room in the upstairs of the old brick house.

She and Aly had lived with her grandparents since Tim left for Germany.

"I wasn't sure it was the real thing, but it was starting to feel that way," she said Friday in the living room.

So she poked her jetlagged husband, Tim, who'd arrived home the day before from Germany. He hadn't been scheduled to get there until a few days later but managed a head start for leave before his next deployment.

That turned out to be a really good thing.

Tim and Jamie got the bags, woke the grandparents — both 78 — called her mom and headed downstairs.

The plan, remember the plan?

But about two steps down, her water broke. Tim got her down the rest of the way and into the bathroom. As Jamie's mother, Karen Blankenship, explained Friday, this was the bathroom "where you wash your hands when coming in from the barn."

Maybe 5-by-6. Maybe. Sink, stool, Jamie on the floor.

Tim called 911.

"What do you see?" the dispatcher asked.

Tim looked. "Well, I see the head," he told the woman.

Everybody knew it was game on.

"I can't believe this is happening," Jamie groaned. Her labor with Aly had gone eight hours.

Grandpa hurried down the drive to the gravel road to wave in the flashing red lights. Grandma got blankets and watched from the bathroom doorway.

Tim didn't even have time to prop Jamie up with pillows. Two pushes, and little Noah rushed into the room like a guy late for a job interview.

When the dispatcher told Tim to find something to tie off the cord, he went for the shoelace.

Five minutes after Noah arrived, the ambulance crew did, too. Tim had to help carry Jamie out of the cramped bathroom because he couldn't get out past her.

"He did great," Jamie said of her husband. "He never panicked, stayed cool, stayed calm. Just did what needed to be done."

Tim, on the couch with Aly on his lap, did the "Aw shucks" thing with his hands: "They talked me through it."

Oh, Grandma Louise finally called Jamie's mother, who had still been waiting for the original plan.

"Well, Jamie had the baby on the bathroom floor," she told her.

West Peculiar Fire Protection Chief Douglas Short said Friday he didn't know what Tim did in the Army, "but staying calm probably helped him more than anything.

"This was a wonderful, miraculous thing to have happen. My people like these kind of calls."

Jamie and Noah spent three days in the hospital. Tim was there every day. Minus a shoelace.

His plan now is to spend all the time he can with Jamie, Aly and Noah before he leaves in three weeks for Afghanistan.

Hopefully, this plan will play out better than the last one.

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