Thirty-six years ago, Darren DeLoach missed being a New Year's baby by just an hour and a half. On Saturday, with his fourth child, he didn't miss.
Micah Olivia DeLoach was born at 2:06 a.m. Saturday, becoming the first area baby born in 2005.
The healthy baby girl was born to Darren and Janet DeLoach at Saint Francis Medical Center in Cape Girardeau. Baby Micah weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces and was 20 1/2 inches long.
"The new year represents new beginnings," Darren DeLoach said. "Even though she's our fourth child, she's a new beginning -- a new person."
He paused and looked tenderly down at his new baby daughter: "She's our Micah."
The hospital room Saturday afternoon was abuzz with family, all centered on the Cape Girardeau couple, who took turns holding the precious baby girl while sitting on Mom's hospital bed.
"We didn't intend for her to be born on Jan. 1," said Darren DeLoach, a technician at Procter & Gamble. "We got here at 10 o'clock in the morning and she was going to be induced. It just took longer than we thought. We really thought that she and I would end up having the same birthday of Dec. 31."
As New Year's Eve partygoers celebrated the impending birth of a new year, the DeLoaches waited to celebrate their own new arrival. But as the midnight hour approached, the couple noticed the hospital's nursing staff getting more excited.
"It was really a quiet night at first," said Janet DeLoach, who said the delivery went smoothly. "We were the only ones having a baby. But the nurses let us know that we might be having the first baby of the new year."
Baby Micah makes a large family even larger. She joins a set of twin 5-year-old sisters -- Hannah and Grace -- and a 10-year-old brother Caleb.
"Being a New Year's baby is special," said Janet DeLoach, a stay-at-home mom. "Her baby book will certainly be special."
Doctors induced labor because Micah weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces two weeks ago and they worried about the baby being as big as 11 pounds at birth if they waited. The baby's due date was later in January.
Also, having the baby earlier fit well into Darren DeLoach's recent schedule, which has him training out of town in a couple weeks.
"We always have big birthday parties for the kids," Darren DeLoach said. "I'm talking, 50, 60, 75 people. Now for Micah, it will be a birthday party and a New Year's party."
For Janet DeLoach, that her new baby was born on Jan. 1 was more meaningful, but for more than the fact that it was New Year's Day. Her grandmother -- Micah's great-grandmother -- also has a Jan. 1 birthday and she turned 88 on Saturday.
"I was just sentimental that Micah was going to have the same birthday as my grandmother," Janet DeLoach said. "That makes it more special."
Linda DeLoach, Darren's mother, said the family is tickled that Micah is the first baby of the new year.
"It's a novelty thing," she said. "Darren was born on New Year's Eve and for Micah to be born on New Year's Day, it's just a great time for all of us. But really, it doesn't matter as long as the children are healthy and happy."
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