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It's a girl: Marine father meets baby girl
[February 20, 2013]

It's a girl: Marine father meets baby girl

Feb 20, 2013 (DEFENSE DEPARTMENT DOCUMENTS AND PUBLICATIONS/ContentWorks via COMTEX) -- 'Warriors Sustaining Warriors' Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

It's a girl: Marine father meets baby girl () () () () () CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- It's time.

The mother rushes to the hospital, and upon her arrival, nurses and doctors escort her in the right direction. Family and friends sit anxiously in the waiting room; someone's holding a computer.

On the other end of the video chat is Staff Sgt. Luis A. Rogers restlessly waiting in his desert utilities to welcome his baby girl into the world, but this time he's thousands of miles away.

"This was a very tough challenge," said Luis, a Sunrise, Fla., native and utilities chief with Combat Logistics Battalion 2, 2nd Marine Logistics Group. "It was my first time not being able to be there for one of the births of my children. I was very nervous for my wife at home being pregnant and not being there to help her out." Luis has three sons: Tavien, 7, David, 5, and Caleb, 3. His first daughter, Emmali Grace, finally came while he was deployed.

"Being in Afghanistan and not being able to be there was very upsetting," said Luis. "My wife is very strong. It was a blessing to hear her voice, and it was difficult to hear her in such pain and agony." Emmali Grace Rogers was born Nov. 2, 2012. She was 21.5 inches and weighed 8 pounds, 6 ounces. For three months, Luis watched his daughter grow through pictures and video chat.

Finally, the time came for them to meet.

Luis's wife of six years, Amber, waited with her newborn baby girl in the dark morning chill at the French Creek barracks here, Feb. 1, 2013.

The hours ticked by ... 2 a.m. ... 3 a.m.

To stay warm, Amber stood with their newest family member in an office looking through the glass windows and periodically glancing at the clock.

"I stepped off the bus, and I was both overjoyed and sad because I didn't see anyone I recognized," said Luis. "It was like that scene in Titanic where you are looking for everybody, and there was a big crowd. I was calling her name, and I saw her and she was in the light. I was surrounded by darkness and got to see her through the light." He raced to his family and took his Emmali Grace into his arms.

"The first time I held her she glowed," remembered Luis as he smiled. "I was so overjoyed. My heart was pounding out of my chest. Time seemed like it stood still. When it was all over, there was joy and a blessing. That was my daughter. I just had tunnel vision. It was just me and my daughter in pure joy." During the deployment, Amber took care of the kids and ran the household with the help of her family. She spent the last months of the pregnancy doing it all without Luis, who could only communicate occasionally over the internet.

"Your wife is your boss, and she is the love of your life," said Luis. "You might [be a staff sergeant], but a king is a king ... the queen runs things." Luis spent nearly half a year in Afghanistan supporting logistical operations and is now making up for lost time.

"It's a blessing and a joy to be back," said Luis. "I get to come home every day and see my kids and to be my wife's husband." A typical day at the Rogers' home is spent playing outside on the playground, running around the house, reading books, and snacking on food while the adults sip on Moscato wine.

"We did a dancing routine at home together as well as some Latin dancing," said Luis jokingly. Teaching his children how to dance is one of his hobbies.

At the end of the day, Luis bathes the kids, lies in bed and reads the bible. Then the day starts all over again.

The Rogers are now spending time together on a trip to Florida to visit the amusement parks during a well-deserved excursion.

It's a transition period for the family, but a welcome one.

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