Flight delay makes soldier miss birth of second child by 20 min

Sunday, December 5, 2004

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A Fort Riley soldier returning home from Iraq to be with his pregnant wife missed the birth of his second child by just 20 minutes after his flight was delayed.

Spc. Timothy Ryan Rinella was the first passenger off his flight Thursday night at Kansas City International Airport, and a security guard was waiting to whisk him to St. Luke's Northland Hospital.

But when he arrived, his wife, Sarah Rinella, was resting after giving birth to Teven, who weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

Timothy Rinella also missed the birth last year of his first son, Breyon. Rinella, who is home on 15 days leave, did not see the child until he was 3 months old.

"I have two beautiful boys, and I didn't get a chance to see either of them being born," said Rinella, 24, who had been stationed in Iraq for about six months. "But I made the choice to join the military, and I knew I was going to miss some things."

Timothy Rinella had hoped the birth of his second son would be different. His wife was four days overdue Thursday as she waited for his plane to arrive and was eager to have her husband by her side when doctors induced labor Monday.

But when fog in Shannon, Ireland, caused Rinella to miss a connecting flight, his waiting wife grew anxious.

"We started freaking out because we didn't know where he was," Sarah Rinella, 20, said Friday from the hospital.

Sarah Rinella said she became so worried that she went into labor at the airport and was rushed to the hospital by friends.

"In the back of my mind, I was thinking I could miss it all," said Timothy Rinella, whose wife already was at the hospital when he reached her on her cell phone.

Despite her husband's late arrival, Sarah Rinella was grateful.

"I didn't believe he would get here," she said. "It was wonderful he got here."

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