County's first baby came a little early

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Angie Richter holds her newborn daughter -- the first Marshall County baby of 2009.

Four nurses at a New Year's Eve party were, in all likelihood, having a good time until about 9:30 p.m. when the hostess' sister-in-law had a natural reaction to her condition.

"They were no help," Angie Richter, 29, of Belfast said of the nurses who obviously knew what was going on, but were off-duty and may well have been self administering stress relief medication.

"'Her water broke. Her water's broke,'" Richter said quoting the nurses. "'Get her to a hospital.'

"We had a 10 p.m. run," the calm, cool and collected mother of her third daughter said Friday afternoon about the drive to Maury Regional Medical Center in Columbia where she delivered Chris Anne Richter at 4:38 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009.

Weighing in at six pounds and two ounces, the child's first names are to honor her father, Chris Richter, 28, a department manager at the Home Depot store in Pulaski, and her paternal grandmother, Carol Anne Richter, wife of proud grandfather Kevin Richter. Carol and Kevin live in Lewisburg.

Just as proud are maternal grandparents, Steve and Sandra McPherson of Belfast.

One of the grandparents was present at Room 450 where Angie and Chris Anne were staying, but diplomatically declined to pose for a family photo saying that there are other grandparents who weren't there. As a result, the new parents, infant and two older sisters faced the camera and smiled to commemorate the moment.

"I love my baby sister," three-year-old Masie said of Chris Anne.

"I love both my little sisters," 10-year-old Kayla said of Masie and Chris Anne.

Dr. Sam Kuykendall of Columbia has been the Richters' baby doctor, but Chris Ann was due on or about Jan. 30, and so, as Angie Richter put it, "We had an actual surprise" while Dr. Sam was away on holiday.

Dr. Mike Pelletier delivered Chris Anne who was diagnosed as experiencing a bit of jaundice, so light therapy was being applied, the mother said. The infant was in what looks like a bassinet converted into a tanning bed. Chris Ann even wore a black eye mask and displayed what's probably her first tan line. That is, other than the one modestly hidden by a tiny diaper on the 19-inch-long newborn.

Angie says she doesn't know why Chris Anne arrived early, but the consensus of the family and friends gathered at the hospital room was that it wasn't unusual. Angie's older daughters also arrived sooner than expected, but "not this early." She seemed to agree with others present that average might be seven pounds and 20-21-inches.

"It wasn't a hard labor," Angie said of those seven hours.

She and hubby Chris slept most of the time.

"As the grandparents waited," Angie said, "I got my epidural" anesthesia, the most popular means for pain relief during labor.

Meanwhile, the pending birth was another reason for the administration of stress-relief at the New Year's Eve party. That toast would have been at the home of Jeff McPherson, Angie's brother. Remarkably, his wife, Michelle, is a nurse who specializes in labor and delivery, so her pregnant sister-in-law was getting professional advice.

"Go to the hospital."

It was unanimous among the four nurses at the McPherson party.

Now, Angie Richter is on maternity leave from her job as a third grade teacher at Marshall Elementary School.