Whale Pass welcomes baby Boomchain

Posted: Friday, January 18, 2008

KETCHIKAN - Boomchain came into the world at home in Whale Pass - the first baby ever born in the small community on Prince of Wales Island as far back as local people can remember.

"He was born right on the couch in the living room," said Steve Loucks, father of Boomchain Everett Loucks.

Loucks said he and his wife were out trapping in Exchange Cove one afternoon in December when his wife, Christy Gardner-Loucks, went into labor. Her baby's due date was a few days later.

"By the time we got home and figured out what to do, it was too late to go to Craig and the helicopters weren't flying out," he said.

Boomchain Loucks rests at home in Whale Pass, the first baby ever born there in residents' memory.

Christy attributes the rough road near Exchange Cove for starting the labor. She said they opted not to drive to another part of the island because of the sporadic cell phone coverage. Plus, she added, it was nice and warm at home.

"It went really well," Christy said of the birth.

The couple named the child Boomchain because Steve works in logging and likes the boomchains, according to Christy. A boomchain is a heavy chain used to attach the ends of logs together to make a log boom, which helps in the building of log rafts.

"He looks like a little boom and it fits him," said Christy.

Boomchain was born on Dec. 18 at 1:15 a.m., with Whale Pass EMS squad members Tyra Huestis and Carolyn Thomason delivering the baby.

On the phone from Ketchikan General Hospital were obstetrician-gynecologist Chia-Ling Tung and Dr. Ernest Meloche, according to Christy. Meloche, who had trained the Whale Pass EMS squad for about 15 years, said he helped on the phone during the first part of the labor and Tung talked the squad members through the actual delivery.

"It was a wonderful example of resiliency and people working together," Meloche said.

Huestis said three other members of the 10-member Whale Pass EMS squad - Josiah Huestis, William Pattison and Sharon Bamburg - helped with the delivery by getting supplies from the ambulance and calling the hospital.

Huestis said this was her first time delivering a baby.

"It was very unique," she said. "Christy was fabulous. She was calm and reasonable and very practical. That was a huge help. It helps everyone else be at ease when mom's not freaking out."

Christy is also a member of the Whale Pass EMS squad.

Christy said it was the first birth in Whale Pass as far as anyone can remember, but noted that there probably were children born in the area before because of the logging camps and Native settlements.

"I think it's pretty nice to have the baby at home," she said.

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