A local celebrity was aboard the 9:35 a.m. ferry on Saturday. But unlike most celebrity appearances, this little star slept through the whole thing.
Baby Zoë and her parents Christina and Chris Hammond and three-year-old sister Ava gathered to meet Captain Russell Fee and crew members who helped her sail into this world as her mother’s labor progressed rapidly on the 5:20 a.m. Bainbridge Island boat to Seattle on October 22. The Hammonds thought they would have plenty of time to make it to Swedish Hospital in Seattle for the birth of their second child, but Zoë had other plans, and before Captain Fee could get his boat ashore, she had arrived.
While Zoë quietly snoozed (following a wakeful night), the rest of the group chatted on smoother seas about the emergency that resulted in a very happy ending.
Chris and Christina thanked the captain and crew, offering them a gift of appreciation. And in turn the ferry crew gave the Hammonds a one-of-a-kind blanket to remember her unusual birthday by. Washington State Ferries (WSF) Communications spokesperson Broch Bender also was there to meet the Hammonds and present gifts on behalf of WSF.
Captain Fee described the morning crossing: “Up in the wheelhouse I heard that contractions were 7-9 minutes apart. Then they were five minutes apart. Then I got a call that the crew was moving Christina upstairs [to the medical emergency room]. The next call was that there would need to be an ambulance. We increased our speed from 18 to 22 knots with all four generators working.”
“It was not our plan. Thank you. I didn’t feel concerned at all the whole time,” Christina Hammond told Captain Fee and the crew members who had repeatedly checked on her in her car and finally helped move her upstairs.
Three nurses, two doctors, and several EMTs who happened to be aboard and answered the captain’s call for assistance delivered Zoë, who arrived at 6:01 and was taken by ambulance to Swedish, with no further complications. The Hammonds expressed gratitude to those who assisted with the birth and to the paramedics who transported them once in Seattle.
Captain Fee said it was a rare pleasure to be able to meet people under happy circumstances who have had medical emergencies on the ferry. “People have heart attacks, for example, and we usually have no idea what happens to them after they leave us,” he said.
Creating an air of inevitability to the occasion, Captain Fee and Chris Hammond discovered they both graduated from California Maritime Academy. Hammond is interviewing with WSF this week for a job on the ferries. Captain Fee told him, “Use my name!”
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- Baby Delivered on Wednesday’s 5:20 A.M. Ferry from Bainbridge
- Bainbridge Midwife Shares Story of Delivering Baby Lucy Aboard Ferry
- Baby Lucy Came Aboard Bainbridge-to-Seattle Ferry!
- Scratch the Baby Poll: Ferry Babies Galore!
- Update—Poll: Name the Last Year a Baby Was Born on a Washington State Ferry
Photos by Julie Hall. Featured in lead photo from left to right: Brian Jonsson, Captain Russell Fee, Christina and Zoë Hammond, Chris Hammond, Ava Hammond, George Conomos, Dave Houck, John Steinberg.