NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kevin Leon Byard IV was due to be born on Aug. 24. But he had his own schedule, coming a day early and forcing his dad, Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard, into action.
Byard helped deliver his son at home on Aug. 23 while receiving instructions over the phone from a doula.
Earlier that evening, Byard’s wife, Clarke, started having contractions. But after they subsided, Byard fell asleep — until Clarke’s contractions returned around 10:30 p.m. Byard checked on Clarke before getting some clothes and helping her get dressed. He called and asked the doula to meet them at the hospital.
But then things progressed rapidly.
“I was downstairs getting the car ready, then went back upstairs and she was still having pretty bad contractions,” Byard said. “She was on the floor on her hands and knees and told me to call the doula to come to the house.”
Byard updated the doula, who advised him to get Clarke into the bathtub. As he helped his wife to her feet, Byard saw his son’s head emerging.
“Tell her to start pushing — the baby is coming,” the doula told Byard.
The doula was right, but there was a scare first.
“His face was pointing upward,” Byard said. “I could see his face was real purple. I was nervous about that. But the doula told me to support his head, check around his neck, make sure the umbilical cord wasn’t wrapped around his neck. Thank God it wasn’t.”
The delivery got easier, Byard said, once Kevin IV’s head was out.
“The shoulders and everything else just slipped out. I kind of caught him in my arms,” Byard said. “We waited about five seconds, then he coughed two or three times and started crying. I laid my wife down on her back and we waited for the ambulance to arrive.”
The whole experience went really fast for Byard, who says it took about 30 minutes for Kevin IV to arrive.
August will always be a special month for the Byard family. Kevin and his wife have a 1-year-old daughter, Elaina, whose birthday is Aug. 22, one day before her little brother.
Looking back on the experience, Kevin Byard called it one of the most memorable moments of his life.
“It’s a story that I will be able to tell my son for the rest of our days,” Byard said.