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Young Cortez couple welcome first baby of 2022 at Southwest Memorial

Parents Kelsey Keller and Tyler Earl of Cortez hold their sonThomas Dean Earl, the first baby born at Southwest Memorial Hospital in 2020. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)
Life of rodeo, fishing, and fixing cars awaits county’s first son of the year

Happy birthday to Thomas Dean Earl, the first baby born in 2022 at Southwest Memorial Hospital in Cortez.

Kelsey Keller gave birth to Thomas Jan. 4 at 12:49 p.m. The healthy New Year’s baby weighed in at 7 pounds, 5 ounces.

“He is wonderful, arrived a few days early,” Keller said. “It’s super-cool that he’s the first baby of 2022. We did not expect that.”

New father Tyler Earl was beaming as he held his son and talked about his bright future.

“It’s an exciting experience, amazing. I’ve always wanted to be a father, even when I was a kid,” he said.

First-time father Tyler Earl holds his son, Thomas Dean Earl, who was born Jan. 4 at Southwest Memorial Hospital. (Jim Mimiaga/The Journal)

The couple are engaged to be married. They relayed the story of going to the hospital and having a baby, a moment etched in time for parents worldwide.

Kelsey had settled in to sleep the previous night, shifted position and suddenly knew it was time.

“Go fast, but not too fast. It all worked out,” Tyler said of the couple’s nervous, late-night drive through the countryside.

“I was saying watch out for deer, we saw some,” Kelsey added.

The baby was delivered by Dr. Jessica Kaplan the next day.

Thomas will grow up with his 2-year old sister, Aurora, at the family home near Cortez.

“We are excited for them to meet, and see how she reacts,” Mom said. “The whole family is happy and can’t wait to meet him.”

Tyler said Thomas is a bit of “a miracle baby” because doctors previously thought he might not be able to have kids. He is named after Tyler’s grandfather and uncle who passed away, and his middle name honors Kelsey’s dad.

The couple sees a happy, healthy childhood for Thomas in the friendly, country atmosphere of Cortez.

He will grow up watching the rodeos that the whole family enjoys. They also look forward to teaching him basketball, football, fishing, fixing cars and the art of cooking. Mom went to mechanic school and envisions rebuilding a classic car with her son one day.

Thomas seems to pose for the camera, and cracked a smile when it was mentioned how handsome he is.

“It’s his first photo shoot, a special day,” Mom said as the flash bulbs went off.