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The IVth Shall Be First

The first Jackson County baby born in 2012 arrived a few weeks ahead of his due date — and three minutes after the clock struck midnight.

Joseph Cruz Leyva IV nestled in his mother's arms, fussing ever-so-slightly as the media buzz that accompanies the first birth temporarily delayed his late afternoon feeding.

Sabrina Leyva, 26, cooed and jiggled and offered her healthy baby boy an index finger by way of substitute as dad, Joseph, admitted to being a bit camera shy himself.

This is the Central Point couple's first child together. But the less-than-a-day-old infant who measures 19 inches and weighs in at 6 pounds and 10.5 ounces had already been greeted with glee by his 9-year-old big brother, Elias, Sabrina's son by a previous relationship.

Both parents grew up in Eagle Point. Sabrina is a stay-at-home mom. Joseph works in landscaping, he said.

Little Joseph was scheduled for arrival on Jan 23. But Sabrina said she became aware her second child had decided to move up his entrance into the world when she went into labor late Saturday afternoon. They arrived at Providence Medical Center at 6:30 p.m. As the evening progressed, so did her labor, Sabrina said.

At around 11 p.m. it began to look like her son would be the first child born in the new year. Doctors told Sabrina no one was in labor at Rogue Valley Medical Center or at Ashland Community Hospital, she said.

"From 11 p.m. to 11:55 p.m. it was a waiting game," Sabrina said. "He was out by 12:03."

Husband and new-father looked on at mom and son with drooping lids, and admitted he's excited and a little nervous about the new change in his life.

"I'm nervous about everything," Joseph said. "But mostly I'm looking forward to it."

Sabrina smiled as she looked down at her son's healthy head of dark hair.

"He's sleeping and eating really well," she said. "He's not fussy."

As if on cue, Little Joseph offered up another mild whimper of protest. But he was quickly quieted again.

Sabrina said she and her husband had not yet had a chance to set up their nursery. In fact, they had just discussed the need to get a hospital bag ready for the big day the very day Little Joseph decided to arrive.

Across the hospital room, on the floor, sat a large basket of swag for the newborn. Gifts included blankets, clothes, diapers and wipes. Missing are bottles, formula and a pacifier.

Providence is a "baby friendly" hospital, said Susan Brault, registered nurse and a board-certified lactation consultant.

Brault handed the basket to the Leyva's after the birth, and is supporting Sabrina through her decision to nurse her son, and eschew bottles, formula and pacifiers, she said.

"If a baby, at this age, is willing to suck, let it be on mommy," Brault said.

Little Joseph is such an eager eater, Brault said Sabrina was concerned she might not be supplying enough sustenance for her son. But a little lactation coaching and Sabrina was able to see her fears were groundless, Brault said.

"She was so happy to see (she had enough milk for her son)," Brault said.

Sabrina said she is happy, with everything, especially her new baby.

"I'm good," Sabrina said, without taking her eyes off her newborn son. "I'm just tired and sore. But that's to be expected."

Reach reporter Sanne Specht at 541-776-4497 or email sspecht@mailtribune.com.

Joseph Cruz Leyva IV of Central Point is the Rogue Valley's first baby of 2012. 1/1/12 Denise Baratta