As thousands of people were ringing in the new year Monday evening with dinner, dancing and noisemakers, Marcus Pope and Samantha Wedding celebrated in their own way at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. The couple welcomed not one, but two little noisemakers into the world early Tuesday morning, making them parents to the first babies of the new year.
Evelyn Faith Pope was born at 12:09 a.m. weighing just 3.14 pounds with sister Elise Grace following closely behind at 12:10 a.m. weighing 4.3 pounds.
Pope and Wedding, who have 3-year-old Paisley and 1-year-old Maddox waiting at home with grandparents, became an instant family of six Tuesday morning.
While the couple was expecting the twin girls, they did not expect them as early as New Year’s. Wedding’s original due date was Feb. 19, and, after experiencing pre-term labor at 23 weeks, she did not expect to go full term. Her goal was to make it to 35 weeks gestation.
“I knew I was going to go early,” Wedding said. “I made it to 33 weeks.”
Although Wedding said she did not know for sure that she was the first to deliver on New Year’s Day, she said they had a pretty good idea given the times of 12:09 a.m. and 12:10 a.m., adding that she didn’t see anyone else in active labor at the time.
The babies, who are each in separate incubators in rooms across from one another, are currently receiving oxygen and being tube fed until they are strong enough to breathe and eat on their own. Wedding said the baby girls will most likely stay at the hospital for the same length of time that it would have taken them to be born.
As far as the future, of having an instant family of six to care for, Wedding said she is not worried.
“I think once we get through the NICU, we’ll be fine,“ she said. “It’s just unexpected — the NICU.”
Dr. Bridget Burshears, M.D., the medical director of the Owensboro Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, said New Year’s Eve was “relatively slow” as far as birth and delivery went.
“It wasn’t the busiest night. It took a while to get some contenders,” Burshears said. “I always think it’s interesting to see who that family’s going to be.”
Dr. Burshears said there was even discussion amongst the staff concerning whether or not the girls would have the same birth year, some hoping for one to be born in 2018 and the other in 2019.
NICU Manager Ashley Denton, was adding additional items to the gift basket the hospital planned to present to the family, as the staff only prepared for one baby to start the new year.
Concerning the excitement of the event, Denton said the NICU specializes in “everyday miracles.”
“But there’s something extra special about a New Year’s baby — it’s always fun.”