Thursday, January 03, 2008

New life in the new year

Hector and Tabitha Morales weren’t interested in having Mercy Medical Center’s first baby of the new year.

In fact, they would have been happy if Jasmine had made her entrance to the world a little earlier.

Tabitha started having contractions Sunday, but then they stopped, so her doctor decided to induce labor.

As Tuesday morning approached, Dr. William Hollander teased Tabitha, telling her she needed to wait just a few more hours so he could deliver the New Year’s baby. He’d been waiting 20 years for the honor, he said.

He got his wish; after two and a half hours of pushing, Jasmine arrived at 12:06 a.m.

Her parents were glad to get their first look at their tiny baby with her long fingers and toes and full head of black hair.

Jasmine weighed 7 pounds, 12 ounces, and measured 21 inches long.

Hector, 26, and Tabitha, 22, had been trying to have a baby since they first married almost three years ago, but they had trouble.

Shortly before they found out she was pregnant, Tabitha had had a miscarriage. So they didn’t tell friends and family at first.

“We kept it between ourselves for a while,” Tabitha said.

Hector said they waited about three months, and they worried during the first few months.

Their fears lessened once Tabitha felt Jasmine kicking and they got to see her on the ultrasound. It didn’t give them the full effect, Hector said, but they knew she had 10 fingers and toes.

“It’s all worth it,” Tabitha said.

Tabitha is on maternity leave from Bank of America, and Hector was recently laid off from Sun Studs lumber mill.

Hector is a little nervous about his new role as father.

“It’s our first one,” he said.

He held Jasmine carefully, and her head rested easily in his hand.

They’ve both had experience with other children. Tuesday their three nephews were visiting the hospital, giving Hector an opportunity to change 5-month-old Carter Morales’ diapers, a sign of things to come. Tabitha took care of her 3-year-old sister a lot.

“But you get to give them back,” she said of her nephews. It’s different having a daughter of their own.

It was strange looking at Jasmine in the middle of the night, Tabitha said. The new parents didn’t get much sleep, waking every time Jasmine stirred.

“She just really is mine,” Tabitha said as she stroked Jasmine’s fingers. “They’re not taking her back.”


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