"It was just like a regular night," says Vonnie Randall of the evening hours of Dec. 18.
She's absolutely correct. It was just like a regular night.
Until about 4 a.m., when the 43-year-old Payson woman was thrown without warning into the role of midwife, and officiated over the birth of a friend's baby.
No, not in a manger. This Christmas present emerged right on Randall's own bed.
What turned out to be a decidedly irregular night began when Randall's neighbors, 20-year-old mother-to-be Chrissy Hendley and her boyfriend, Dan Middleton, dropped by for an extended visit. By evening's end, both Hendley and Middleton had fallen asleep while watching television, and Randall had gone to bed.
"At about 4:15 in the morning, Chrissy opened my bedroom door and told me she was about to have the baby," Randall recalled the next day, her voice still unsteadied by the experience. "As soon as I looked at her, I knew she was right. She was literally holding on to the wall.
"She was saying, 'I can't walk, I can't walk,' so I called 911," Randall said. "I don't remember how I carried her, but I got her to the bed in my room.
"And all of a sudden, there was a baby being born.
"I was so ... so ... oh my gosh," Randall said, searching for the right words.
"It was an ordeal. It really was. I mean, you could see the baby. Everyone was screaming and yelling. It was just like on the TV show '911,' except it's happening to you."
The paramedics did arrive but not until a few minutes after the world debut of Rayne Marie Hendley.
"She was born right there on my bed," Randall said. "I held her upside down and got stuff out of her mouth.
"She's really, really, really pretty.
"We didn't want to cut the umbilical cord. I just put the baby on her mama's stomach after I was sure she was breathing.
"Oh, my gosh. I had never seen anything like it.
"The paramedics got here right after she was born. I handed the baby to them, and they cut the umbilical cord and handed her to her dad.
"She was so pretty. She was perfect. She was so beautiful," swooned Randall, who knows beautiful babies when she sees them. She has two of her own: Lacey Rae, 11, and Dalton Joe, 10, who ran into his bedroom and hid under the covers of his bed the moment the action started.
Two days after becoming a first-time mother, Hendley was still ensconced in Payson Regional Medical Center awaiting word that she and Rayne could go home.
"Actually, my contractions started at about 2 o'clock in the morning," Hendley said. "They weren't really bad at first, but boy, they got a whole lot worse.
"I was crying and screaming, but nobody heard me.
"At 4 o'clock it was really bad. I finally woke my boyfriend and Vonnie and told them that this baby was ready to come and that I needed to make it to the hospital.
"I wasn't scared," Hendley said. "It just hurt.
"But after the head came out, I had the biggest sigh of relief you can imagine."
Exactly 50 percent of all parents, it's safe to say, can imagine it quite clearly. And the other 50 percent can make a darned good guess.