Home : News
NEWS | June 17, 2020

Deployed officer sees newborn via smartphone

By Maj. Jean Kratzer Task Force Spartan

ARIFJAN, Kuwait – New York Army National Guard Maj. Michael C. Costello, a Guilderland, N.Y., resident deployed to the Middle East with the 42nd Infantry Division, expected to miss the birth of his second child.

What he didn’t expect was that Siena Jude Costello would be born at home in New York and he would be watching it happen via a video chat application.

Costello’s wife, Kate, was expecting their second to be born while her husband, a logistics officer, was deployed with the 42nd Division. She had arranged for her mother, Mary Lou Hubly, to stay with her in her husband’s absence.

The plan that Mary Lou, who lives in Clarks Grove, Minnesota, would be there to watch her grandson while Kate’s friend brought her to the hospital and also stay to help with the new baby.

But on May 25, Siena Jude started coming early and there was no time to go anywhere.

Mary Lou, a mother of eight grown children, knew what to do. She took charge and started delivering the baby.

“Delivering little Siena Jude was a gift and a grace. We are still savoring that precious experience. It was a very easy and wonderful birth,” Mary Lou said.

“When I realized that we weren’t going to make it to the hospital, I didn’t have any anxiety since I knew mom was there,” Kate said. “Even after the EMS arrived, they let her continue to help since they saw she had control of the situation.”

Before the birth, Michael’s wife was talking with him via video on her phone. She was preparing to leave for the hospital and said she would call back.

Within minutes, when Kate didn’t pick up the call, he checked his security cameras and saw the local EMS, police and neighbors in his front yard.

He talked with Kate’s friend, who was on her way to bring Kate to the hospital.

Minutes after the birth of Siena Jude, he was able to connect via video chat and see his wife and healthy new baby girl.

With a 2-year-old at home and a newborn, Kate is incredibly grateful for her mother’s help.

“My mom has made all the difference during these first few weeks. Michael’s family and our neighborhood have been so supportive,” she said. “I’m learning every day to accept the help that is so graciously given and for which I am so grateful,” Kate added.

“I am blessed and grateful to have the support of my mother in law. She has been a godsend to help our family during this deployment. Every day I get daily photos from my wife,” Michael said.

“We are making good use of FaceTime, and Siena already recognizes his voice, and she gets calm and curious when she hears him,” Kate added.

Graham, their 2-year-old, was at home for the excitement when the Guilderland Police Department and the Guilderland Emergency Medical Service showed up to assist Kate and take the newborn to St. Peter’s Hospital in Albany.

Baby Siena and mother Kate are healthy and doing well at home.

COVID-19 travel restrictions and mandatory quarantining means Michael can’t get home to visit, but when his deployment comes to an end, he cannot wait to meet the newest addition.

“I cannot wait until I get home and will need to spend time reintegrating with both of the children. I am so incredibly proud of my wife and how well my son has been with his new sister,” Michael said.