First baby of 2014 arrives on due date
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- Spc. John Erps, Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and his wife, Shanelle Erps, pose for a picture with their new baby girl, Peyton. Peyton was the first baby of 2014 born at Evans Army Community Hospital.

FORT CARSON, Colo. -- She's a bright spot in a relationship marked by deployment. Peyton Erps, the first baby born in 2014 at Evans Army Community Hospital, made her appearance at 4:14 a.m., weighing in at 7 pounds, 9 ounces and 20.5 inches long.

Her parents, Spc. John Erps, an infantryman with Company C, 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, and Shanelle Erps, met 25 days before his last deployment in 2012.

"(We met) on the day he got orders to deploy," Shanelle Erps said. "We just started dating, and I told him I'd stay with him while he was deployed."

When he returned, John Erps proposed, and they got married March 4.

"It was actually the anniversary of me leaving (on deployment)," he said.

He's scheduled to deploy again in a few months.

"I'll spend three months with her, (maybe) two. Hopefully, it's my last (deployment)," he said. "It'll be a little harder this time, but I know I have them."

"That's OK. That's why there's Skype," Shanelle Erps said.

On New Year's Eve, there was a race to have the first baby of the new year, which was also Peyton Erps' due date.

"It was pretty much a competition between the other three people here," John Erps said. "(The nurse) came in, and she's like, 'The other lady in nine is trying to have the baby.' I was like, 'No, we're having the baby first.'"

The new baby joins big brother, 3-year-old Sheldon.

"(He's) excited to have a baby sister. You're going to be a good brother, huh?" he asked.

Sheldon wasn't able to meet his baby sister right away. She had fluid in her lungs and was on oxygen in the nursery.

Having the first baby of the new year was John Erps' goal, he said.

"But we just wanted her healthy, that's all. It's a blessing."

Peyton and Shanelle Erps went home Jan. 5.

Page last updated Thu January 9th, 2014 at 00:00