Starting in 2016, ringing in the new year will forever have extra meaning for the Aguirre family.
Parents Lisset and Josh Aguirre of Jacksonville welcomed their first child, Emmanuel Joshua Aguirre, at 2:18 a.m. Friday, Jan. 1, at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center. Weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces and measuring 21½ inches, their first baby is also the first child in the Rogue Valley born in 2016.
"We'll always have a reason to celebrate big," Lisset said from her hospital bed while cradling her newborn son in her arms. Her husband, Josh, sat beside them.
"It's changed our lives forever," Josh said.
In celebration of the baby's holiday arrival, hospital staff presented the couple with a large gift basket filled with baby clothes and New Year's Day themed gifts Friday afternoon.
Being the first 2016 mother was somewhat of a surprise for Lisset. She said she had a due date of Jan. 4, but she expected her son would be born slightly later than the due date because she was dilating behind schedule. But when she started experiencing painful contractions Thursday afternoon, they contacted their obstetrician Dr. Alan Binette, who advised that they head to the hospital. Lisset said that they checked into the hospital about 4 p.m. Thursday.
Although Lisset and Josh had just met their son, the parents were pleasantly surprised by their son's calm temperament. The newborn slept as news cameras rolled, while reporters and hospital staff entered and exited the hospital room.
"He's been a pretty mellow little dude," Josh said.
According to the couple, all signs from nurses and medical staff at Asante Rogue Regional pointed to a healthy son, and the family expected to be released from the hospital later Friday afternoon after their obstetrician could give them a final checkup.
The name Emmanuel has special meaning for the Aguirres. The name also belonged to Lisset's grandfather, but it also has spiritual significance.
"It means 'God is With Us,' and we're pretty religious," Joshua said.
"We'll call him 'E.J.' for short," Lisset said, adding that the nickname may change.
Although Emmanuel was first born in the Rogue Valley with a 2016 birth date, others newborns were right behind him. Nursing staff in the birth center who started their shift at 7 a.m. Friday had three new arrivals to watch over. Although some years can be something of a friendly race between hospitals to see whose patient gives birth first, this year no laboring mothers were checked in Thursday night at Asante Ashland Community Hospital or Providence Medford Medical Center.
—Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimebeat.