Soldier returns to witness daughter's birth

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

Posted by Shawn Maclauchlan - email

GLEN ALLEN, VA (WWBT) - An American soldier makes a trip back from Iraq and is just in time to see the birth of his daughter.

Her name is Journee, and after the trip her father had to take to get back for her birth there may not be a more appropriate name.

Less than a week earlier, Dennis Richardson was on the front lines, serving his country in Iraq. He knew his wife could give birth at any time, but thought the chances of getting back to be there when it happened were slim at best.

From the time he learned of his wife Lena's pregnancy, Dennis began making plans to be there as close to the birth as possible. With only his wife's due date as a guide, he was granted a leave around February 19th, a date still about a week away. However his leave got pushed up, and with only a 14 day window, being there for the birth was anything but certain.

"In Iraq you can't just throw your leave days all around," said Richardson. "I didn't know if I was going to be too early and miss the birth or too late and miss it all together."

It took two days travel, from Iraq to Kuwait, to Germany, to Atlanta, and finally to the hospital.

But fortunately for Dennis, his new daughter was born the day after he arrived. He was there to see it all, even though he had almost no sleep.

"My beautiful princess popped out, and right at that point the coffee wore off and I passed out as well," said Richardson.

His infant daughter may not understand how special it was that her father was there. Lena, who went without Dennis for most of the pregnancy, was glad that she had him there when it counted.

Dennis is expected to spend four more months in Iraq, but when he returns stateside, he and his new family will head back to Alaska, where he is stationed.

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