For Colorado Springs' Tamra and Brian McLellan, 2017 proved that life is full of surprises.
Sometimes for the worse.
A friend commits suicide, as Brian's did on Halloween.
A baby is lost to a miscarriage, as it was for Tamra's first expected baby, and the couple's February of hopes and dreams gave way to a March of sadness. Seven years ago, as giddy students getting to know each other at Florida State University, they couldn't have imagined such pain between them.
But sometimes, surprises are for the better.
Take the time around 4:30 a.m. New Year's Eve. Tamra's water broke. Brian threw everything into the car. And they were off to the hospital, texting friends later that the scheduled party at their home was off.
Their girl was coming three weeks early.
Isla Beth McLellan, 6 pounds and 2 ounces, was born at 12:01 a.m. Monday at UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central, which declared her the city's first child of 2018.
"A little scared," the mother described herself on day one of parenthood. "But definitely excited."
Her husband cradled the baby wearing a cap with a purple flower, his tired eyes on her chest that went up and down as she slept peacefully.
"We couldn't have asked for a better situation," he said, cracking a big smile. "I can't stop staring at her."
Isla (pronounced EYE-luh) is named after Tamra's grandmother, whom she chose as the subject of a middle school assignment to interview someone from a previous generation. Among many things Tamra admires about the woman, the name is one - "gorgeous," she's always thought.
Along with their Christian faith, the couple are counting on their upbringings as guidance.
"I want her to be smart," said Tamra, who teaches fifth grade at Giberson Elementary. "But the biggest thing is showing everyone kindness, love and respect, whether they deserve it or not. I think that's the most important lesson for her to learn."
The two were ready to rest like their daughter after a day Tamra spent almost entirely in labor. By 11 p.m., Brian was eyeing the clock.
He liked the idea of a New Year's baby.
"12:01, it was 12:01, and that's probably for a reason," he said. "It kicked off 2018 the right way. I'd like to think, for us, that's gonna be the start of something new, something better, and maybe that extends to the country and the world."
Contact Seth Boster: 636-0332