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Central Point couple welcomes first baby of 2022

Kendra and James Carpenter of Central Point hold newborn Leah Ann, who is the first baby born in Jackson County in 2022. Courtesy photo.
Kendra and James Carpenter hold newborn Leah Ann, who is the first baby born in Jackson County in 2022. Courtesy photo

At the same time a Central Point family was made a little more complete Sunday afternoon, the Rogue Valley welcomed its first baby of the new year.

Leah Ann Carpenter was born at 2:57 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 2, to parents Kendra and James Carpenter of Central Point, and is the first Southern Oregon baby with a 2022 birth date.

The 24-year-old new mom’s water broke roughly 13 hours earlier, according to the couple.

“The day flew by, which was odd,” James Carpenter said next to his wife during a phone interview from the hospital. “Kendra only pushed for 30 minutes.”

Leah was born weighing 6 pounds, 15 ounces and was measured at 19 inches long, according to the Carpenters and information from Asante.

The baby is the couple’s first child. For James, the extended birth eased him into a key reality of parenthood.

“The sleep deprivation is sinking in,” he said. “She’s worth it though — looking at that little smile is amazing.”

When he saw his daughter’s face for the first time, James said he felt a mix of “excitement and relief.”

“That’s pretty nerve wracking watching your wife go through that,“ he said.

The couple says they’re grateful for their daughter’s health and excited for the future.

“We can’t wait to watch her grow,” James said.

Mail Tribune archives show that the Carpenters’ child is the first Southern Oregon New Year’s baby born on a date other than Jan. 1 in more than a decade.

Little Leah may be later than other first babies, but for the Carpenter family she’s two days ahead of her due date.

“We were hoping she would be here in 2021, but we didn’t want to induce,” James said.

The second Jackson County baby of the new year was born a couple hours later, at 5:24 p.m. Jan. 2 at Providence Medford Medical Center. Maria Ramirez, was born to mother September Stone at the Medford hospital weighing 6 pounds, 15.6 ounces and measured at 19.5 inches.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTwebeditor.