In the midst of Hmong New Year celebrations, Nyhia Lor was giving birth to her new good luck charm.
Her daughter Kaj Siab was the first baby born in 2016 in the Fresno area. She was born naturally at 1:34 a.m. Friday at Clovis Community Medical Center. She weighs 7 pounds and 4 ounces and is 20 inches tall.
Kaj Siab is the 33-year-old Lor’s fifth child. While her due date was Dec. 30, Lor and the baby’s father, Dao Thao, weren’t expecting her so soon.
“It was just a normal check-in, and I found out they were going to admit me. I wasn’t even thinking she could be the first born of the year,” she said. “Labor was different with the others – they gave me signs. But this one, she didn’t show me any signs at all.”
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Lor had a feeling that her labor would go smoothly, though. Since finding out she was pregnant, she was overwhelmed with a sense of calm, which inspired Kaj Siab’s name, which in Hmong means, among other things, “peace.” Lor said she hopes to keep that sense of tranquility in 2016.
“I just felt at ease and at peace and OK with her,” she said.
Dr. Sharon Kopacz, owner of Fresno Women’s Medical Group, was thrilled – and surprised – to deliver the Fresno area’s first baby of the year.
Not everyone has a New Year’s baby – there’s only one. And you can miss it by a second.
Dr. Sharon Kopacz, Fresno Women’s Medical Group
“It was a mellow night. When she came in, we didn’t expect that. I ran from the call room because I knew St. Agnes (Medical Center) had an 8-centimeter person. So when I got in there, I told the nurse to set up the bed really fast,” Kopacz said. “We beat St. Agnes by three minutes. We weren’t trying; it just happened. It was great.”
Kopacz said that for doctors, “winning” the first baby of the new year is a fun way to distract from the painful and often lengthy labor process.
“It’s just fun. Not everyone has a New Year’s baby – there’s only one. And you can miss it by a second,” she said. “It’s just a natural, fun surprise for people.”
Lor is already planning ahead to make sure Kaj Siab’s birthday is special each year.
“With New Year and New Year’s Eve, I’ll be thinking like OK, will we celebrate two parties at the same time or celebrate her before? How’s it going to work?” she said.
In Visalia, another baby was born even closer to the strike of midnight.
Adalina Berenice Ramirez was born at 12:26 a.m. at Kaweah Delta Medical Center.
Adalina weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces and was 18.25 inches in length. Her parents are Adam Ramirez, 24, and Heidy Rosales, 23, of Visalia.
Adalina was a surprise in more ways than one. She came early – her due date was Jan. 10 – and the parents chose to wait to find out the gender of their baby until the big day.