It took a little longer than usual — 35 hours and one minute, to be exact — but the New Year’s baby at the Brandon Regional Health Centre was well worth the wait.
Born healthy and happy, Ava Marie Lea Hadley tipped the scales at six pounds and four ounces, measuring 20 inches with a full head of beautiful brown hair.
"We’re very happy," said mother Shannon Hadley, who went into labour at approximately 6 a.m. and gave birth to the couple’s first girl five hours later at 11:01 a.m.
While it’s Shannon and husband Josh Hadley’s first girl, it’s the couple’s third child.
Four-year-old Gage and two-year-old Liam were over the moon, getting their first chance to meet their new baby sister yesterday afternoon.
"They met their little sister and they’re very excited," said 26-year-old Shannon. "And we’re excited to have a little girl."
For dad, the addition couldn’t come on a better day, as 29 years ago Josh was the New Year’s baby at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Estevan, Sask.
"It’s a great birthday present for me," he said.
"I think my birthday is now officially gone," he joked. "Oh well, I’ll gladly move aside for her."
The Virden couple, who were high school sweethearts, have known for a long time they were going to name their girl Ava. It was the name they picked out during their first pregnancy more than four years ago.
The middle names — Marie and Lea — are a tribute to their grandmothers.
If Ava was the star of the day, the surprise came in the form of more than $750 of baby loot for having the first baby of 2014.
Diapers, toys, books, blankets and even some gift cards for a romantic dinner out in Brandon were just some of the baby gifts generously donated by local businesses.
"We didn’t think coming into Brandon on (January) second that we’d be the New Year’s baby," Josh said. "The nurses told us this morning and we weren’t expecting any of this and we’re very thankful."
"The generosity, it’s amazing," Shannon added.
The gift baskets were arranged by the Sunset Rotary Club.
"We go around to local merchants and ask for donations and they’re so generous. They load us up stuff," Rotary member Dayle Hughson said.
Even the nurses on the maternity ward chipped in with some items, she said.