WELLINGTON, Carbon County — Rylee Adam Smith is less than a week old, but he's already got one heckuva story to tell.
"He went through a lot," his mother, Megan Clark, said Friday.
"Between the (natural) gas and everything, we weren't sure if he was even going to come out OK."
But Rylee was in perfect health when he was born at 8:12 a.m. on Dec. 31 at Castleview Hospital, a little more than eight months after his mother was critically injured in a bizarre crash.
Clark and her fiance, Ryan Smith, were sleeping in their rented home on the corner of Janet and Main streets in Helper on May 3 when a pickup truck crashed into their bedroom about 4 a.m. Police say the driver fell asleep.
Smith was able to escape with minor injuries. No one in the truck was hurt.
But Clark, who had learned she was pregnant with the couple's third child just one day earlier, was pinned beneath the vehicle for more than an hour as the house filled with natural gas spewing from a damaged service line.
Once the gas line was plugged, firefighters pulled Clark from the rubble. She was taken to a hospital in Provo, where initial tests showed she had lost the baby.
"That was pretty heart-wrenching," Smith said Friday. "To learn that your son might have died."
A subsequent test, however, showed Clark was still pregnant.
It was a gift that came with an unexpected cost. Clark would have to forgo surgery to repair injuries to her back, knee and ankle.
"The drugs they would have to give me would have killed my baby," she said, discussing her decision to endure the months of pain to protect her son from harm.
With Rylee's birth, Clark said she plans to go ahead with the surgeries. So far, her medical bills associated with the crash have been covered, she said, by the company that employed the man who crashed into Clark and Smith's home.
That's been a big relief, since Clark's injuries have prevented her from working, and Smith was laid off just before the crash and has yet to find a new job.1 comment on this story
The couple firmly believes, though, that the trials they experienced during the past year are behind them. They see their son's health, despite everything that could have gone wrong, as a sign of good things to come.
"We brought the best part of 2012 with us," Clark said, looking at Rylee. "So it should make for a pretty good year."