U.S. Army Combat Engineer Francois Clerfe made it to the hospital on the day his daughter was born.
“It was fun and exciting at the same time, you know the thrill of thinking the ‘what-ifs,'” Clerfe joked. Over the course of 48 hours, Clerfe had traveled from his Iraq deployment, all the way to the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, in Monterey, California. He joined his wife, Natalia Svistunova, on New Year’s Day. “Kuwait, to Turkey, to Turkey to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Baltimore, Baltimore to Atlanta,” he recounted. Seven connections, and more than 1000 miles worth of flying time later, he was home.
As it happens, his rush home was exceptionally fortunate: His daughter Julia was also in a hurry, arriving at 9:53 a.m. on the day of his arrival, more than a week earlier than her January 9 due date. “I’m glad baby Julia waited for me,” he said. But Julia’s mother was never in doubt. “You know I had the feeling that he would make it because he really wanted to be here, next to us,” she told WCVB.
Like many new fathers, Clerfe was overwhelmed by the event. “You can’t explain, but inside of you is just jumping for joy,” he said. Clerfe will enjoy a month at home with his new daughter, thanks to a policy in his battalion. And while 2018 has gotten off to a rocky start for many in the United States, the soldier’s daughter brought something else along with her sudden arrival: Hope. “That moment, having a first kid into the world [on] the very first day of the New Year, I think that it’s going to be a very good year,” Clerfe said.
Little Julia Clerfe is not the only remarkable birth story of New Year’s Day 2018. A set of twins was born at the Delano Regional Medical Center, just far enough apart to have their birthdays in different years. The first was a boy born in the last minutes of 2017; his sister would not arrive for another twenty minutes, just after the new year began.
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