Matt Reedy has made many sacrifices during his nine years in the military. "He's missed anniversaries, birthdays," Alicia Reedy, Matt's wife, tells us. "He's given up a lot." And earlier this year, it looked like he would miss an actual birth day: the day of his daughter's arrival into the world. Matt, a captain in the United States Marine Corps, was deployed overseas a few months before Alicia was due to deliver the couple's first child. And he was going to be on a ship in the Mediterranean when Alicia was expected to give birth back home in North Carolina, where the Minnesota natives were living.
That's when Alicia's parents stepped in. "We convinced our daughter to have her baby here at Mayo so we could help," says Alicia's father, Doug Pappin, a manager in Information Technology at Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus. Alicia temporarily relocated to her hometown and began the countdown to her mid-October due date. And as the date neared, it began to look like Matt might be able to be part of his daughter's birth after all, despite his physical distance, thanks to technology (and good timing).
"A week before I ended up giving birth, Matt found out he was going to have shore leave soon," Alicia tells us. That meant if the stars aligned, he'd be able to leave the ship and have access to Wi-Fi, which would enable him to connect with his wife via FaceTime during the delivery. And on Oct. 24, when Dorothy ("Dottie") Lane Reedy finally made her arrival, Matt was able to take it all in. He was able "to see the birth of his beautiful daughter, and to hear her first cry," Doug (aka "Grandpa") says. "He wasn't there to hold her, but because of technology and caring Mayo staff, everyone … brought Matt into the experience as best they could."
Alicia says Matt was "so thankful" to have the opportunity to witness Dottie's birth. "He was able to ask questions, and the nurses talked to him like he was right there," Alicia says. And in the days that followed, staff continued to find ways to include Matt in his new daughter's life. "They worked around his schedule so he could be a part of things like her first bath," Alicia tells us. "We weren't expecting any of that. We feel very blessed."
The Reedys are hoping those blessings continue. At press time, there was a chance that Matt would be back home in time to celebrate Dottie's first Christmas. That would be icing on the figgy pudding for the family. "The sacrifices and challenges military families face are extraordinary," Doug says. "We are very proud of both our son-in-law and our daughter." Indeed.
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