Sheila Boerst gazed out her hospital window and felt a peace most women don't experience during labor, but this was a magical day.
"I remember laying there watching the snow fall on the window with such large beautiful flakes," Boerst said. "It was so beautiful -- so perfect and peaceful."
Sheila and her husband, Jim, expected their baby girl to be born soon, but they couldn't have imagined a more perfect Christmas gift.
Little Alyssa Noelle stretched all 8 pounds, 12 ounces of her tall 22.5-inch body into the world on Christmas Eve.
Her gentle cry and the Currier and Ives winter wonderland outside created a holiday memory and a birthday her family will cherish for a lifetime.
"After she was born, the nurse brought Alyssa in to see me and she had on a little red, white and green Christmas hat," Boerst said. "It was so sweet. I think one of the hospital volunteers crocheted it by hand. Everyone at the hospital was incredible."
Sheila's husband, Jim, said he couldn't even describe how wonderful it was to watch his baby girl being born. "It's overwhelmingly awe inspiring," he said.
Perhaps too overwhelming says Sheila. "When he was leaving to pick me and the baby up from the hospital he started the car so it could get warm while he scraped the snow off the windows. But he locked the keys in the car while it was running."
"And it was running with hardly any gas," adds Jim. "I'd like to thank the fire department. The person who came out was super nice."
Mom and baby made it home safely on Christmas Day and now await the return of Alyssa's 5-year-old brother, Isaac. "He hasn't seen the baby yet because he's been with Grandma," Sheila said. "But when he wrote to Santa this year he ended the letter with, ‘Please save something for my baby sister.'"
But both parents agree -- they received the greatest gift of all this Christmas.