Scott and Katherine Clayton always wanted a natural childbirth, and they got one of biblical proportions: A mother locked outside in the elements, and a child delivered under the humblest of circumstances on Christmas.
"We never imagined it being so natural that we would be giving birth outside in the dead of winter on a porch," said Katherine Clayton.
The day started quietly enough: The Claytons had placed a baby-size stocking on their fireplace just in case, but they were expecting to stay in for the night.
Clayton had been having contractions for most of Christmas day but she was advised to not think much of them until they became more painful.
Her midwife and her doula -- a person who assists and coaches mothers through labor -- both encouraged her to continue with normal activities. So she went on celebrating Christmas.
But as they ate dinner, the contractions began to get much more painful.
"I knew, at least I thought I knew, from my birthing class that labor usually takes 18 hours," said Scott Clayton. "I'm still thinking we have hours and hours."
When the Claytons got in touch with their midwife and doula, both heard the sounds of Katherine's ever-growing pain and knew she was going into labor.
They agreed to meet at the Allen Birthing Center north of Dallas, where the Claytons planned to have their baby.
"We actually got there before the midwife and doula showed up," said Scott Clayton. Worse, no one was inside and the doors to the birthing center were locked.
Katherine was in a nightgown, robe and wrapped in a blanket. The baby was on its way.
When Katharine's advisors arrived, they told Katherine to lay back on the porch. Their midwife had the keys to the facility and handed them off to a family member so they could unlock the doors. As soon as Scott's mother opened the door, a blaring security alarm went off.
"The midwife was down here focusing on Kat, trying to explain the code to the security alarm," said Scott. But the alarm wouldn't stop. "We ended up shutting the door to block out the sound and it wasn't 20 seconds after that, we delivered the baby out in the porch."
The speed with which the delivery happened still amazes the family. "I would say at 6 o'clock we were sitting around opening gifts, at 7 o'clock we were eating pumpkin pie for dessert," said Katherine. "And at 8:08pm, I had a baby in my arms."
Her name is Harmony Clayton. "She's a Christmas gift," said Scott.