The blur of an ambulance ride, a wayward fiancé and the anxiety of giving birth at a strange hospital already make good stories for Kayline McCown of Olympia.
But they quickly fade to the background when McCown holds her daughter, Maleah Anne-Marie Doherty, the first infant of the new year born in Pierce County.
“It feels wonderful ,” McCown said Saturday as she held her daughter, dressed in pink with a “Happy New Year” cap. “To actually see and hold her, it’s amazing.”
McCown was 35 weeks pregnant when her water broke at her home about 7 a.m. Friday. She made a quick call to the soon-to-be father, Michael Doherty, who had left the house earlier, planning to cut firewood.
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The recently engaged couple – Doherty proposed Dec. 22 – quickly drove to McCown’s doctor’s office. By 8:30 a.m. she was in an ambulance headed for Tacoma General Hospital, where they could best handle the premature birth and baby.
Doherty ran home to get some things, then headed for Tacoma. “But I went to (St. Joseph Medical Center) instead of Tacoma General.”
“I didn’t find out until I got to the 14th floor. They let me in the birth center, but then said they didn’t have anyone by Kayline’s name there.”
As he made his way to Tacoma General, Doherty wasn’t worried about missing Maleah’s arrival. In fact, the 5-pound, 12-ounce, 19-inch-long infant didn’t arrive until 3:28 a.m. Saturday.
“It was a good feeling,” Doherty said of the first time he held his daughter.
McCown said she had never stepped inside Tacoma General before, but it’s the hospital where one of her grandmothers was born and later worked as a nurse.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking. I didn’t know why I had needed to be transported, I wasn’t sure what was happening, I was uncertain because it was my first child,” she said.
While visiting with family, McCown laughed as she looked down at Maleah. “She looks just like me.”