Emma, meet your father - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Emma, meet your father

February 17, 2003

Albany - Thousands of Georgia soldiers and sailors are leaving their families behind not knowing when they'll see them again. But there's a twist for one Albany family. Richard Blankenship will ship out in less three weeks, and he worried he may miss the birth of his second child. But his wife, Kelly, made sure that didn't happen.

When Emma Joyelle Blankenship entered the world, the first face she saw was her fathers. Having Richard in the delivery room took some effort by his wife. "I refused to left him leave without seeing her," said Kelly.

Richard is shipping out on the USS Nashville on March 7th. So 13 days before the due date, Kelly decided to induce labor. "My doctor said the baby's breathing and her size was healthy. And, he said I could go ahead and deliver."

At 11:47 Monday morning, Richard touched his 8 pound 9 ounce baby girl for the first time. "I hate that he will miss her first word and miss her crawling," said Kelly with tears rolling down her face.

"I will miss them so much," said Richard. "I know they will send me pictures, but of course it's not the same."

Richard may not come home for a year. But, the tears were routinely interrupted by Emma's older brother 6 year-old Lance. "I want to change her diapers," said Lance. "I know it smells, but I'll just hold my nose."

Richard plans to spend this week soaking in every moment, so when he's thousands of miles away at sea he will remember the faces of his family.

Posted at 5:30PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com

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