TURLOCK -- Simon Anthony Dadisho sat and waited in his mother's tummy, not cooperating with a doctor's effort to induce labor early this week.
It was just as well, as Simon's father, Army Sgt. Stephen Dadisho, had to wait in airports for hours on end as he tried over three days to get from Baghdad to Turlock for the birth.
The drama, mixed with a little comedy of the frantic-parent-to-be kind, ended when Fiona Dadisho gave birth to Simon early Wednesday, a little more than two hours after Stephen rushed into Emanuel Medical Center.
"I was sitting on the plane, I was thinking the worst, and I got here just in time," a relaxed Stephen said Friday during a visit at the hospital with Fiona and Simon, their first child.
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"I had one relief -- he's here, he's OK," Fiona said of seeing her husband, still in uniform, arrive at the hospital. "Now let's have the baby."
They planned to take that baby -- 10 pounds and 23 inches, with a shock of black hair -- to their temporary home in Turlock today. It happens to be Fiona's 23rd birthday.
The pending birth was mentioned Sunday in The Bee's In Service feature, which tells about area residents serving in the Middle East.
Stephen, 29, and Fiona had been living in Baumholder, Germany, when he got his assignment to Iraq in the spring. He is a combat engineer, working in demolition and mine detection.
With Stephen headed for Baghdad, Fiona came back to Turlock to live for a while with her parents, Edi and Valintina Oshana. When Stephen called Fiona to say he had arrived safely in the Middle East, she told him she was expecting a baby.
Stephen, who grew up in Modesto, said he remembers thinking, "I've got the wife who's at home, pregnant. I've got that on my mind. Then I've got trying to stay alive in Baghdad on my mind."
He said his unit, working in the heart of the Iraqi capital, has been attacked by insurgents opposed to the U.S. occupation.
As the baby's due date approached, Stephen arranged for his first leave from Iraq so he could be in Turlock for the birth. He learned that Dr. Felix Sanchez hoped to induce labor Tuesday, so he planned his trip accordingly.
Stephen flew last Saturday from Iraq to Kuwait, where he had to wait a day for a flight to Greece. From there he caught a flight to Germany, where he was delayed again because his plane bound for Atlanta had mechanical problems. He finally got to Atlanta on Tuesday afternoon, then faced yet another delay before finding a flight to San Francisco.
"I got the last ticket on the last flight out of Atlanta," Stephen said. "Coincidentally, it was in the first row of the plane. I was the first to get my baggage and was out of there."
Fiona's brother, Walter Oshana, picked up Stephen at San Francisco International Airport about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. They drove straight to Turlock, reaching the hospital parking lot about 11:15 p.m.
Stymied at the door
The first door they tried was locked.
"I was all over the place," Stephen said. "I just wanted to be there."
They finally found the night entrance and the hospital's Mary Stuart Rogers Birthing Center.
"Once I heard the nurses scream when he walked in, I knew it was going to be OK," Fiona said.
At this point, she said, the doctor still was hoping for a vaginal birth. Stephen had planned to be with her during delivery.
Dr. Sanchez opted instead for a Caesarean section, with Stephen present in the operating room. Simon was born at 1:26 a.m. Wednesday.
Stephen, a six-year serviceman, said he will be on leave in Turlock until Jan. 14. He expects to serve in Iraq through April, then return to his base in Ger-many with Fiona and Simon.
For now, Stephen said, he is thinking little of the Army and much about his new son.
"I didn't think I would make it," he said. "But when everything was done, when I was holding the baby in my hands, there was such a peace."
Bee staff writer John Holland can be reached at 667-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org