Ashley Guerrero holds her newborn, Lexana, who was born at 5:50 p.m. Jan. 5 at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. Lexana was the first baby born at the hospital in 2009.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Ashley Guerrero holds her newborn, Lexana, who was born at 5:50 p.m. Jan. 5 at The Memorial Hospital in Craig. Lexana was the first baby born at the hospital in 2009.

Craig's first child of 2009 born

— On Jan. 5, 1949, Sharon Meckley, now a Craig resident, came into the world as the first baby born that year in Laramie, Wyo.

History repeated itself Monday.

Ashley Guerrero, Meckley's granddaughter, gave birth to her second child, Lexana, at 5:52 p.m. Jan. 5, 2009, at The Memorial Hospital. She was the first child born in Craig this year.

Meckley recalled the birth with tears in her voice.

"It's a really special gift to be a great-grandmother," she said.

The birth of Ashley's first daughter, Teilah, 15 months, marked another milestone in Meckley's life. Teilah was born Oct. 5, 2007, which fell on the 43rd wedding anniversary of Sharon and her husband, Bob.

This week's birth, however, was different.

Meckley is battling cancer and wasn't able to watch the birth of her second great-grandchild.

Still, Lexana's arrival into the world represented something greater than pain or illness: Hope.

"The greatest hope for this world is all these new babies," Meckley said.

Defying expectations

Lexana kept her parents in suspense until the very end.

Ashley underwent four ultrasounds during her pregnancy, the results of which varied.

Ultrasound 1: A boy.

Ultrasound 2: A girl.

The final two ultrasounds couldn't conclusively show the gender of the unborn child, Ashley's husband, Ray, said.

The baby also defied delivery date predictions. Ashley was scheduled to deliver around Jan. 10, but, Lexana couldn't wait that long.

And, when she did arrive, her birth wasn't an easy one.

The newborn weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces - significantly more than Teilah's 6 pounds, 4 ounces at birth.

Lexana's shoulder became stuck in the birth canal during the delivery process.

Ray was in the delivery room watching the birth. Seeing his wife in pain made his heart race.

Ray has been able to hold his own in brawls without once getting woozy, he said, adding that he considers himself "a pretty tough guy."

But, after Lexana's delivery, Ray did something he had never done before.

He fainted.

"That made me look like a little : a little girly-girl, pretty much," he said.

After he had recovered, one of the first things Ray asked the doctor was whether his daughter was the first born in Craig this year.

Ashley was surprised by the doctor's response.

"I didn't think I would make it because I figured there would be a baby born on the first of the year," she said.

On Tuesday, however, that distinction seemed less important to Ray.

Instead, he said, Lexana's birth is more important to him because it coincides with that of his grandmother-in-law.

Ashley agreed.

"It's just an important day (because) the baby (was) born on her birthday," she said.

The next challenge

On Tuesday evening, Ashley was looking ahead to her next task: raising the child she gave birth to Monday.

She doesn't take the responsibility lightly.

"I'm excited," she said. "I'm relieved. But, I think more than anything, I'm kind of nervous because I have a 15-month-old to take care of, too.

It will probably be one of the biggest challenges of my life, I think."

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