Blake Van Es, wife of popular Arizona morning radio show host Johnjay Van Es, relaxed and laughed with her family Tuesday at St. Joseph's Hospital waiting to give birth to the couple's third son.
The boy, Dutch Diego, was born about 4:30 p.m. by Caesarean section, more than five hours later than scheduled. He weighed about 7 1/2 pounds and was 19 1/2 inches long.
The only glitch was technical: Van Es smuggled in a microphone to try to tape audio for this morning's radio show on KRQQ (93.7 FM) but didn't manage to record anything during the operation. Other than the hospital's backlog that delayed the birth, everything went smoothly.
But Johnjay and Blake Van Es, both in their late 30s, spent 10 years — and countless heartaches — to get here.
The couple started trying to have a baby shortly after they married in 1996, only to discover both had fertility problems.
Blake got pregnant in 1999 with twin girls. The first was stillborn; the other died nine days after the birth.
In November 2002, a Denver fertility doctor told her she had no hope of finishing a pregnancy.
She didn't carry the couple's other two children. The first, 3-year-old Jake, is adopted. The second, 2-year-old Kemp, biologically belongs to the Van Eses but was carried to term by Blake's sister, Brooks Martinez. The family's story was the subject of an Arizona Daily Star story in 2003.
The various forms of conception have become something of a joke in the Van Es family.
"The only other way to have one is the baby Moses way: If someone comes knocking on our door and leaves one," said Johnjay, sending his wife into giggles.
This pregnancy, the couple said, happened by a twist of faith. They got a bill from the fertility doctor in Denver for the eggs still frozen in storage. The ache the couple had carried for a child had eased, but Blake thought, why not try one more time?
"If we hadn't already had the eggs, I wouldn't have done it," she said. They began the regimen of shots and supplements that accompanies in vitro fertilization but didn't tell friends or family about their plans.
On Halloween, the couple headed to Phoenix for a party at the home of Allison Dubois, the real-life inspiration for the television show "Medium."
"She walked over to Blake to give her a hug," Johnjay Van Es said, "and whispered, 'You're pregnant.' We hadn't told anybody."
Two days later, the doctor called. She was.
Family members filled the waiting area Tuesday, rotating in and out of Blake's room in three-person shifts.
Despite the patient's good spirits, Blake's family was nervous, particularly since she has a blood condition that can make surgery dangerous. When she finally was wheeled back to the operating room, her mother-in-law, Elvia Van Es, sat outside whispering prayers, her fingers touching to her temples.
Less than 25 minutes after the surgery started, Johnjay came through the set of double doors, carrying Dutch in front of his chest with both arms.
Grandparents crowded around and the baby's paternal grandmother dissolved into tears. The group trooped over to the nursery area to watch the nurses weigh, measure, poke and prod the baby.
The baby's maternal grandfather, Kemp Biddulph, cringed and turned away when Dutch faced his first needle — a shot of vitamin K.
Before the family saw Dutch, whose name came from Johnjay's being Dutch and the couple's having met in San Diego, they guessed about whether or not he'd look like his brother Kemp, a strong possibility since the two are biologically fraternal twins. He does, they decided, only with less red hair.