Special Delivery… from Grandma

By on February 7, 2018
Penny Fasnacht and Phylicia Dissinger with baby Willow

Penny Fasnacht and Phylicia Dissinger with baby Willow

You can be sure that Penny Fasnacht never expected to deliver her seventh grandchild.

The Ephrata grandma isn’t a midwife. She’s not a nurse. She’s not an EMT either. Fasnacht works at Ephrata National Bank, and usually her day is spent doing typical banking business.

So, it was an unexpected delivery on Jan. 30 when Fasnacht delivered her newest grandchild, Willow, at her daughter’s Lancaster home.

Like many grandmothers, Fasnacht was planning to babysit her two-year-old granddaughter Savannah while her parents, Phylicia and Phil Dissinger set off for the hospital to have their new baby in the usual way ­ at the hospital.

Fasnacht planned to stay the night. Savannah was tucked into bed. Phil Dissinger was busy loading the car with his wife’s well-planned overnight bag for the hospital. Everything was going as planned.

Dissinger was upstairs getting dressed to go to the hospital. She was one day past her due date and having some contractions.

“We thought the baby would be coming later that evening,” says Dissinger.

But all of a sudden, Fasnacht heard her daughter’s panicked call for her. “Mom! Mom!”

It was the kind of call all mothers know, meaning their child needs help. In a flash Fasnacht was up the stairs and at her daughter’s side. Dissinger told her she felt like the baby was coming. Right then.

Sure enough, the baby was on the way. Dissinger was standing near the doorway of the bathroom. In an instant, little Willow slithered into her grandmother’s arms. Fasnacht was there to make the catch like a wide receiver.

“So there we were standing there. The baby has been born, she’s still attached through the umbilical cord. And I’m crouched down, holding the baby. I was hoping and praying she would cry, and thank goodness, she did,” says Fasnacht.

Stuck in that awkward position and unable to move, mother and daughter looked at each other and burst out laughing.

“I kept saying to my mom, ‘Mom, you delivered my baby. Mom, you delivered my baby,’” recalls Dissinger. “It was crazy.”

But wonderful.

“I feel like I have a very special bond with my granddaughter. I was there when she was born. Right there,” says Fasnacht.

In the meantime, Phil Dissinger had heard the commotion upstairs, and he rushed upstairs to see Willow being born. He had called 9-1-1, and in just moments, first responders were there from the ambulance and police. The narrow hallway was crowded with emergency personnel, who helped mom, baby and grandma get into a more comfortable position.

They wrapped baby Willow in clean towels and treated her for the extra fluid in her lungs due to her quick delivery. Mom and baby were then transported to Penn Medicine/Lancaster General Health Women and Babies Hospital separately, so they could both be checked out. Willow weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds, 11 ounces. Mom and baby spent two days in the hospital before going home.

“Amazingly, Savannah slept through the whole thing,” says Phil Dissinger. “When she woke up in the morning, she found out she had a baby sister, born right near her bedroom. She was very excited for her to come home.”

Savannah wasn’t the only one to be surprised by Willow’s prompt arrival. Grandpa Day Fasnacht was on his way from Ephrata to help out when his daughter went to the hospital. His wife called him to tell him the baby was already born. Dissinger’s parents were also surprised by the speedy arrival of their grandchild. They arrived shortly after the birth.

“It was awesome for me to have this experience. I was there for my daughter and I got to hold my granddaughter in the first minutes of her life,” says Fasnacht, with a warm smile, as she holds Willow.

“Mom, you delivered my baby,” adds Dissinger. “How often does that happen?”

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