Dallas Ann Marsh, held by her mother, Sammi Marsh, was born Wednesday at 7:28 a.m., earning her the distinction of being the first baby born at the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center since it officially opened May 6. Dallas weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces, and measured 19¾ inches.
By Patricia Deal
Special to the Daily Herald

FORT HOOD — Dallas Ann Marsh, born at 7:28 a.m. Wednesday, doesn’t care that she was the first birth at the new Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center’s Women’s Health Center since it officially opened May 6.

While it’s nice Dallas has a bit of fame, parents Sammi and Christopher Marsh said they are just thankful their daughter was born healthy. Dallas weighed 6 pounds, 4 ounces, and measured 19¾ inches.

“I am truly blessed with Dallas, she’s absolutely beautiful and healthy,” Sammi said. “The delivery went well with no complications. It was all perfect.”

Sammi, 25, also said she felt fortunate to have been able to deliver at the new center. A Texas native, she had her other daughter Sydni, now 2½, at a hospital in Waco. Her experience at Darnall was better, she said, adding that it was “much more private and peaceful.”

“The rooms are so big. It was great that I didn’t have to move around from room to room while in labor,” she said.

Sammi had 12 hours of active labor, and spent the last few hours in the same room she delivered in. “I felt as relaxed as I could be. It was all so quiet and calming.”

Melanie Benson, a certified nurse midwife at Darnall, and the other nurses who assisted in Dallas’ birth, said they were excited she was the first baby born in the new center. But they didn’t have much time to celebrate with the Marsh family, as they were kept busy with five other births that day and attending to the sixth.

“Everything went well, just as was expected,” Benson said. “I personally think that the environment in the new center is just so pleasant that it helps calm the mother, which helps make the birthing process go smoother.”

The Marsh family transferred to Fort Hood from Fort Gordon, Ga., a few months ago. Sammi was a bit apprehensive about having to change doctors as she had developed a bond with her last obstetrician. But when she started going to the new clinic for her prenatal care, Sammi said she felt more confident as “everyone was professional and seemed to care about her and her baby.”

Father Pfc. Christopher Marsh, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, said he was also impressed with the facility. He compared Darnall to other medical facilities and, while some may have been new, too, the atmosphere at Darnall set it apart. “I felt that Sammi was in good hands, and am so grateful for my beautiful daughter.”

If Baby Dallas had been born on her due date, June 14, she would have been close to sharing a birthday with her dad, who was born June 15.

“I thought it would be fun if she was born on my birthday. But I’m just thankful she’s here and healthy,” he said.

While they might not share the same birthday now, father and daughter do have something else in common.

Christopher was born at Darnall in 1989.

Jamie Marsh-Wheeler, who came from Arlington to visit her granddaughter, said Darnall had changed since her delivery.

“It was unbelievable. When I had Christopher, the hospital was very simple, just sterile and orderly, nothing fancy at all. I had to move three times — to a labor room, a delivery room and then to my regular room. The ward was hectic and so noisy, plus I shared the delivery room with another mother,” she said. “What a change it is now. The new rooms look like someone’s bedroom. It’s like having your baby at home.”