After the 1980 Men’s Hockey Team defeated the Russians in the Olympics, a movie was made to tell their story: Miracle on Ice. They overcame the impossible and were our nation’s heroes. Herb Brooks’ famous speech and their story will still be told for years to come. Parents Nicole and Kyle Howard can relate. Their daughter Lakelyn was born on the ice on a blustery and snowy Minnesota January night.
From sixth grade through high school, from college to careers, Nicole and Kyle lived apart, and their distance spanned from Nevada to Colorado and back to Minnesota. The two rekindled an old flame back in the Midwest on New Year’s Eve in 2013, and they were married four years later on a beautiful spring day. They conceived their daughter on their honeymoon in Hawaii right after the wedding.
Nicole had been married previously and had two healthy and quick deliveries. Her sons, Marek (7) and Owen (5) were outgoing, spirited, and excited to have a new sister. She recalls that “With my son Marek’s birth we had been sent home to labor further, but in the car en route back home my contractions had become excruciating; we turned around and were finally admitted.” Her healthy baby boy was born shortly after. Two years later she goes into labor with her second child, Owen, and I can only describe from an outside perspective, that she’s the woman who just sits up and coughs and the baby comes out. My, what a Mama!
Nicole shares, “Our daughter was due January 19, 2018. My OB reminded me that often with the third child, they come quicker…” Nicole and her husband spent time decorating the nursery, sharing holidays with family, and anxiously awaited their daughter’s arrival while wasting no time or sparing any details.
“Our doctor said that if I feel any contractions that I shouldn’t wait this time around. We had moved to a smaller town outside the city and the hospital was a little drive away, so our bags were packed and we were ready whenever she was. I carried her very low and was dilated to a 3-4 for a few weeks. We had one scare on Christmas where I thought I was in labor, but it was only Braxton Hicks contractions. My first two came early, so I figured she would, too. We were right.”
Around 10:30 PM on January 10, 2018, Nicole’s contractions started. She paced around and did a few things around the house trying to decide if they were real or if they would subside. At around midnight she pads to the shower trying to relieve some of the pain and is certain she is in labor. She wakes Kyle, asks him to get the car ready, and in the meantime, calls her brother to ask him to come to the house immediately as the baby is coming and he should be here for the sleeping boys.
“I walked outside wondering what Kyle was doing, all while deciding what I should do. I had the urge to poop, and I knew I wouldn’t make it to the house, so I quickly went outside the garage and just as I pulled my pants down, my water broke— like Hollywood movie style! Now at this point, I was praying and trying to remember the book I was reading and reminding myself that many women have natural births. I repeated, ‘I can do this, everything is O.K.’ I focused my attention on trying to remain calm for Kyle’s sake, too. The contractions had put me in active labor, and I was resisting the urge to push, all while telling Kyle, ‘There’s not enough time, we are not going to make it, we need to call for help!’”
“He is unsure what to do; I am on all fours, he is grabbing blankets for me to lay on, and he called 911. He is on the phone with them, and I am breathing through contractions and continue to tell him ‘The baby is coming!’ He has a flashlight in his mouth, a phone to his ear, and just like that, out she comes and slides right into his arms like he’s catching a football. The operator instructs him to tie off the cord, to which he grabs a shiny new hockey skate lace from his truck. She was born on the ice in the driveway at home, Up North Style. Our hero, her Daddy, delivered our precious baby girl.” She recalls telling friends and family, ‘All I could think was, Oh What a Night! I can’t believe this just happened!’ The ambulance arrived shortly after and we are taken to the hospital. Our daughter Lakelyn Ann was 7.1 lbs: healthy, safe, and beautiful.”
Nicole and Kyle shared their news with a circle of friends–one who happens to be a morning anchor for the Rochester, MN ABC 6 News Team. Read the full story HERE. They featured her story on the news, and then it spread to the local Minneapolis news station, too. Kyle donned his “State of Hockey” sweatshirt as he tended to his own Miracle on Ice. What a glorious and beautiful grand entrance to the world, Miss Lakelyn Ann Howard. Nicole and Kyle’s story, like the hockey team’s, will be told for many years to come. Way to go, Mama!