Never as you plan

The Purvis family didn’t expect the early arrival of their son – or for the snowstorm that swept in – but the care they received helped make it a joyous experience.
June 27, 2017
Shawna Purvis holds her new baby right after delivery.
Shawna Purvis sent her husband, Ryan, a photo of his newborn son, Kyler. Ryan was in route to the hospital from Salt Lake City when Kyler was born at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies. Photo courtesy of the Purvis family.

When Ryan and Shawna Purvis shared the story of the day their second child, Kyler, was born May 18 during the start of a classic Colorado spring snowstorm, they couldn’t help but laugh and joke about that whirlwind day.

Text messages between Ryan and Shawna that morning — just as the snow started to fall and road closures began across the state — tell a harrowing story filled with anticipation and uncertainty.

Shawna was 37 weeks into a healthy pregnancy. She’s a flight attendant for the same airline that her husband, Ryan, a pilot, works for. Shawna had already taken a few weeks to prepare for their child’s arrival. Ryan, thinking the child would come three weeks later, had gone to Salt Lake City for three days of training.

Ryan was in class when the first text message came at 8:20 a.m.

“You there? Sooo…started having contractions about 45 minutes ago…,” the text message said.

Shawna told Ryan she’d called her doctor, who had advised her to come in for an appointment. Her sister, Shannon, who had already agreed to help when the time came, was taking her there as she typed.

“I literally spent the whole night coughing, so maybe it has to do with that…,” Shawna wrote back.

picture of shawna holder her newborn in the hospital bed.
Shawna Purvis sent her husband, Ryan, a photo of his newborn son, Kyler. Ryan was in route to the hospital from Salt Lake City when Kyler was born at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies. Photo courtesy of the Purvis family.

Shannon arrived and drove her sister to UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies. Shannon talked about everyday things, but Shawna couldn’t listen. She was busy texting her husband.

“I’m in pain. I want you here…,” a message said. Ryan’s colleagues gave him a few high fives and he headed out to catch the first available flight back to Denver.

Meanwhile, at MCR, Shawna was being told she was in the late stages of labor.

“When they told me I was 7 centimeters (dilated), I knew he wasn’t going to make it and I started crying,” Shawna recalled.

Shawna, Ryan and 3-year-old Cambryn Purvis on the porch of their home with newborn Kyler in the car seat.
Shawna, Ryan and 3-year-old Cambryn Purvis welcome home the newest member of their family, Kyler, on May 25. Kyler was born at UCHealth Medical Center of the Rockies on May 18. Photo courtesy of the Purvis family.

Jenna Duetsch, nurse manager for the Women’s Care unit at MCR, was Shawna’s labor nurse that morning.

“Once she arrived here we were able to move quickly and get her comfortable,” Duetsch said.

Shawna got an epidural and hoped that it would slow her labor, but she had no such luck. Only moments later, her water broke.

Duetsch offered to have Ryan watch the labor via Facetime, but he was on the airplane for an 11 a.m. flight out of Salt Lake City. His text messages to Shawna went unanswered. Her delivery moved quickly and Kyler was born at 11:17 a.m. weighing 7 pounds, 7 ounces.

On the plane, Ryan got a few phone calls in and receive updates via Facebook from his sister-in-law while in route.

“Anyone who knows me, knows I’m cheap, but I did pay for the Wi-Fi this time,” Ryan joked.

His first look at his newborn son was via text message photo, Kyler lying peacefully on his mother’s chest.

“Congrats sweetie. I’m so proud of you,” Ryan messaged.

Kyler’s oxygen levels were low when he was born, so he was taken to MCR’s Special Care Nursery special care nursery, where he was cared for until May 25.

“This was not at all our plan,” Shawna said. “But everyone was so accommodating.”

“My interactions with everyone here (MCR) were so great,” Ryan continued. “They were so helpful. It had been three and a half years since we’d had a baby, but they were there to help coach us and encourage us, which was very, very helpful, and I appreciate that.”

About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.