Some blessed events take a bit longer than expected.
On the second night of the new year, Hood River County's first baby arrived, within six hours after his parents arrived at the hospital.
Ethan Lloyd Wiley Haight was the first child born in 2002 at Providence Hood River Memorial Hospital. Ethan was born at 9:33 p.m. Jan. 2. He weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long. His parents are Mary Todd Haight and Norm Haight, of Stabler, Wash., and he has a sister, Mara, 23 months.
"It was a big surprise," Norm Haight said of the First Baby status. "We just didn't believe it. I thought you'd have to hit it pretty close to the mark."
The Haights won the annual First Baby Contest, meaning they will receive a wide range of gifts and services from Hood River County merchants.
"They were happily surprised to learn Ethan is the first baby of the new year, since he was born at the end of the second day of the year," said Barbara Young, Community Relations Director at the hospital.
Haight expressed appreciation to the hospital and the contributing First Baby Contest merchants who provided gifts ranging from automotive service to diapers.
He reported Friday that mother and son are doing fine.
"Ethan's eating like a horse," Haight said. "There's plenty of action in the diaper department. We're getting back into that. His little sister's starting to really get used to him, too."
By New Year's Day, no expectant mothers had been registered at the hospital's birthing center, which left no chance of a birth in the opening hours of 2002.
By the afternoon of Jan. 2, the center was still patient-ly waiting.
Hospital officials began to wonder if the county's premier infant would be born within a few days of the new year.
At about 4 p.m., the Haight family arrived.
"For some reason, there was a kind of a lull there (at the hospital)," Haight said. "They said normally they average about a baby a day."
As it turned out, Ethan had plenty of assistance in entering the big bright world.
He was delivered by nurse midwife Ann Becker, CNM, who was supported by attending nurse Mary Twombly, RN and by Kim Stolte, who is a nurse and doula. Doula is a Greek word for an important female who provides the mother with emotional and physical support before, during and after childbearing.
According to the website of Doulas of North America, an international association, the doula's role includes helping the parents in carrying out plans for the birth, staying by the woman's side during labor and channeling information to her, and facilitating communication between the parents and clinical care providers.