Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 2/23/13
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. The birth was beautiful. Miraculous. Unlike anything he has lived. Above all, after it all, Evan Longoria is eager for his daughter to come home. The third baseman has become many things with the Tampa Bay Rays in five seasons: a three-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove winner, a recipient of a 100 million contract extension that will make him a franchise centerpiece for the next decade. On Wednesday night, he added father to the list, when he and his girlfriend, Jaime Edmondson, welcomed their daughter, Elle Leona Longoria, into the world at 4.1 pounds, 18 inches in Boca Raton, Fla. On Saturday morning, Evan was back in the Rays clubhouse at Charlotte Sports Park, beaming about the new addition to his family. The experience of a lifetime was a mix of emotions all proud. It happened so quickly, Longoria said. (Edmondson) really was only in there for three hours total. When it came, it was quick. I wanted to be in there. I was going to be in there no matter how long it took. It was amazing. Ive experienced a lot of things in this game, and it was like nothing Ive ever experienced. The daughters name has deep meaning for both Longoria and Edmondson. Longoria said Edmondson told him she would be happy if he picked their daughters name, a responsibility which, to Longoria, added more than a bit of pressure. Elle is inspired by the nickname Longoria calls his mother, Mary Ellen. Meanwhile, Leona, the daughters middle name, comes from the name of Edmondsons grandmother. Thankfully, Longoria said, Jaime liked it. Elle was born about six weeks early, but because she was past the 34-week development milestone a key mark in a fetus' progress Longoria wasnt concerned Wednesday night. He said doctors wont allow the baby to go home until shes at least 35 weeks into development, which will occur Monday, because she must learn to eat and regulate temperature on her own. Edmondson has high blood pressure, Longoria said, and since the baby had reached the 34-week mark and was ready, doctors thought it was best to proceed with labor. Longoria knew the event was imminent and was prepared, having packed his car with three bags one each for him, Edmondson and the baby in case his girlfriend began labor. He made the two-hour, 45-minute drive to Boca Raton The longest two hours and 45 minutes of my life, Longoria said and welcomed a new chapter in his life. Ive been pretty settled with (Edmondson) for two years now, Longoria said. I dont think anything bad is going to come of it. I think its going to be great for me. I think its going to be great to settle in and be a family. Once you get back home, its definitely going to have a positive effect, I think. Among his early memories On seeing his daughter for the first time: For people who havent been at an actual child birth, its like the most beautifully ugly thing youve ever seen. On seeing parts of himself and Edmondson in his daughter: Its amazing the more you look at her, how much you see yourself, certain features that you have in (her) and certain features that Jaime has that I see in her. On the delivery: There were no complications. Jaime was fine. She was incredible throughout. With his active week complete, Longoria plans to return to baseball soon. He wasnt listed in the lineup for either of the Rays split-squad spring training openers Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Boston Red Sox. Longoria said he probably wont play until Monday, against Boston at Charlotte Sports Park. Meanwhile, Rays manager Joe Maddon said the return could come Tuesday, when the Rays host the Houston Astros. Longorias departure was hard for Edmondson, who tweeted Friday night, It was hard to see daddy leave today but Baby Elle is strong & we look forward to the day she gets to go home. Were going to talk about playing him on Tuesday, Maddon said Saturday. Ive got to talk to him about that, just to get him back into BP and running and throwing, etc. Theres no rush. Well take our time with him. After a night to remember, though, time cant move fast enough for Longoria. Some things in life are too beautiful to wait for. I wish, he said, she could be home now. You can follow Andrew Astleford on Twitter @aastleford or email him at aastleford@gmail.com.
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