TORRINGTON – While most people were wearing eclipse glasses and staring at the sky just before noon on Monday, Rebecca Froerer was donning a hospital gown and delivering her son, Austin Douglas.
In Goshen County, totality lasted from 11:46 to 11:48 a.m. Austin was born at Community Hospital in Torrington at 11:52 a.m. – Rebecca held off on her last push so the attending doctor and all but one nurse could enjoy the brief, utter darkness.
“Everybody wanted to see it – her husband definitely wanted to see it,” Dr. Bonnie Randolph said. “We were down to the last push, and I said, ‘Can you breathe for a couple minutes?’ We all went and looked at (the eclipse), and then one more push and she had a kid. It was a total high.”
Rebecca went into spontaneous labor at 10 a.m. Monday morning. Fortunately, she and husband, Dathan, who live just outside of Torrington, didn’t run into any heavy traffic on their way into town.
“We should have been more concerned about the traffic,” Dathan said. “We might have left a little sooner.”
The Froerers were looking forward to enjoying the eclipse before it became apparent Austin – their sixth child – was ready to greet the world.
“We had our glasses all ready, all set up to go,” Rebecca said.
Once at the hospital, Rebecca requested the blinds in her room be pulled to allow her to view the dimming landscape.
“It was nice to take my mind off things,” she said “I got to see it get dark all of a sudden – it was pretty cool to see it get dark.”
“It was pretty cool,” Heather Roberts, the obstetrics nurse who remained in the room with Rebecca during totality, agreed. “I’m the primary nurse, so I had to stay. We visually could see it getting so dark. (Rebecca) is a super star. She said, ‘I don’t want you guys to miss it.’ It was pretty neat. It got dark, got light (during labor). And I got to run out real quick and see it after.”
The last total solar eclipse visible in Goshen County was in 1918.
“What’s impressive about (Rebecca’s) delivery is only 5 percent of women deliver on their due date,” Dr. Randolph said. “To deliver on her due date during totality is … incredible.”
For the Froerers, the eclipse simply made Austin’s birth that much more memorable.
“It was a moment to remember, for sure,” Dathan said.
“It was just kind of neat,” Rebecca said, smiling. “A neat coincidence.”
Tuesday morning, Community Hospital Chief Operating Officer Sandy Dugger presented the Froerers with eclipse cookies, a Wyoming-themed onesie embroidered with Austin’s special date of birth and other small gifts.
Rebecca and Austin were doing great and expected to be released Tuesday afternoon.