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Birth experience cannot be aptly described

Life-changing experiences can be gradual shifts or come in the blink of an eye. And sometimes they can be all that and more wrapped in one.

With lots of blood, sweat and tears (OK, most of those were on my wife’s part) and one final push, more than nine months of waiting and 12 hours of hardship culminated with the arrival of the most beautiful sight I have ever laid eyes on. Can you tell that I am already just a little biased?

My daughter, Avery Rae, was born a week ago today, blessing my wife and me with a joyous gift we had only dreamed about.

Thankfully both she and Mommy appear to be doing fine and our expanded family could not be happier.

Regardless, every parent thinks his or her baby is beautiful, but I think ours really is. See, there’s that bias again.

Although this may sound like my Oscar acceptance speech, there are so many people who deserve credit for their role in this miracle.

Dr. Brian Frederick stands at the top of the list. The physician was like an ace fighter pilot, calm and cool despite all that was going on around him. You could tell he has been around the block a few times, despite being young.

The Doc made all the right decisions on the fly and ensured that both my baby girl and my wife were safe. Though seldom at a loss for words, I don’t think I can ever express my gratitude for that.

Much of the credit also goes to all the nurses at King’s Daughters Medical Center who went above and beyond to provide us with the care we needed during this time.

The names are too many to list but basically all of the staff in Labor and Delivery and Recovery will forever have my respect.

Charge nurse Lori Raybourn offered calming words of wisdom during a time we were struggling with some difficult decisions. She didn’t have to do this but the fact she did shows depths of compassion and character for which we all should strive.

Of course, I have to give my most sincere thanks to the entire staff at The Ironton Tribune for being hard-working, dedicated professionals who keep the paper going. Knowing that the paper is in good hands makes this challenge more manageable.

And of course all our family, friends and a supportive community make this that much easier. I cannot thank all the well-wishers and supporters enough.

Now, the fun begins.

After only having been a father for exactly one week, it is amazing to me how my perception of life and priorities has already started to change.

I am sure this is only the beginning and that all those parents out there will be quick to tell me that I haven’t seen anything yet. You know, they may be right, but I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Ironton Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at mike.caldwell@irontontribune.com.