Bragg births booming

Blaze Shaw, son and third child of Megan and Pfc. Braden Shaw

June 7, 2011 4:22:45 PM PDT
The busiest maternity ward in any U.S. Military hospital is in Cumberland County.

For the past year, Fort Bragg soldiers have been returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, causing a mini baby boom at Womack Army Medical Center.

Megan and Pfc. Braden Shaw's third child, Blaze Shaw, was born Monday and is part of an ongoing boom.

"Everybody I know is pregnant," Megan said. "There's a lot in his company that their wives are pregnant and most of them are having boys that I've noticed. And every time you go somewhere you see pregnant ones."

Pfc. Shaw is one of the lucky soldiers, who hasn't deployed since a mission to Haiti. His heart goes out to deployed soldiers whose wives are expecting.

"Those guys, I feel for them," he said. "It's just nice to be here and just go to appointments, see sonograms and the little things like that are what make it real special."

More than half the babies born in Cumberland County are born at Womack. The baby boom coincides with last year's return of the entire 82nd Airborne Division.

Sergeant Chad Blevins' unit returned in August. Now, he's enjoying the adventures of having twins Gavin and Addison.

"The way I see it, I'm having two kids at the same time, and it's going to be twice the work but half the time for two babies," Sgt. Blevins explained.

OBGYN Major Amber Morris says the hospital is seeing increased numbers beyond the nine months when soldiers return.

"Either when they leave, right before they leave, they all get pregnant or right when they all get back they all get pregnant," Major Morris said. "But we're seeing an increased number right across the board, and it's been longer than the nine months. In September we hit our biggest number ever."

While Fort Bragg troops are starting to deploy again, doctors expect the baby boom to continue during the coming months.

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