Eleven years ago, my daughter was born.
She was a Shettles baby, in that we followed the Shettles Method of Gender Selection in order to increase our chances of having a girl (since I have a preponderance of male conceptions in my family lineage, and we already had a beautiful little boy and knew that two was going to be our limit). Incidentally, my mom had used Shettles' principles to conceive my sister, and I'd recommended it to a coworker who was trying to conceive a second child with his wife (it worked for them as well). Anecdotally, it works pretty well - though I'm certainly the first to admit it's an imperfect science and there's been a lot of medical challenge to Shettles' work.
Anyway, Kayleigh was ready to come join the fun, giving Sam about 5-1/2 hours labor, total (from water breaking to delivery). We could never keep her from a party. As with Tyler's birth, we had a second birthing coach in the delivery room to run interference with the family and give me support when I was otherwise engaged with Sam's labor. They barely got the epidural in before Kayleigh Grace Downing made her entrance. Out popped a delicate little baby girl, and a proud papa cut the cord as our family doc attended.
It was the day after our 7th wedding anniversary, which created an interesting emotional dynamic, especially after Sam died.
From her earliest development, we knew Kayleigh (Old English, "rejoice") would be a performer (being the genetic product of two actor/artist/musicians). That theory is no less valid now, as she plays her clarinet, guitar, recorder, keyboards, bass and sings.
She's experienced a great deal more trauma and loss in her short time on Earth than most of her peers. And yet, she continues to meet the world with a smile and a hug. If I sometimes doubt my abilities as a dad, it is Kayleigh's amazing talent and attitude that re-inspire me to keep going. She's a testament to love and a resilient human spirit.
Happy birthday, Kayleigh. I love you.