HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — One family knew something special was about to arrive that Sunday night as they watched NBC’s coverage of the ball drop in New York’s Times Square, but not just the new year.
The Zeiglers counted down with the TV and others in the room. “Two, one — all right, start pushing,” Stephen Zeigler told his wife, Kendra, as doctors, nurses and family surrounded them.
They were at Cabell Huntington Hospital when 2018 arrived, and their son, Ace, was born only six minutes later. He was Huntington’s first baby of the year.
Ace originally was due Jan. 10, but he came into the world as an early present to Kendra and his 2-year-old sister, Mollie, who share birthdays in January. He was 6 pounds, 10 1/2 ounces and 20 inches long.
“We’re over the moon,” Kendra said. “It’s great to have a fresh start, fresh year — fresh baby.”
The Barboursville residents met at a church camp in Beckley, West Virginia, and have been married for about four-and-a-half years.
Knowing Ace was due in early January, they discussed the possibility of having him on New Year’s Day but didn’t really think it would happen.
Kendra, 27, was having contractions for a couple of days and didn’t think it was time, but Stephen, 34, finally persuaded her to go to the hospital around noon Sunday. The contractions were two to three minutes apart.
The staff at Cabell Huntington Hospital kept them there because Kendra was in active labor, so she and Stephen got settled in their room, watched football and waited. They didn’t know when to expect Ace until the last minutes of 2017, and he was already well on his way.
“We’re going to raise him in the church and teach him to love God,” Stephen said, noting his young family goes to Jefferson Avenue Church of God in West Huntington. “Whether he wants to be a bookworm or he wants to be an athlete, or anything in between, we’ll be there for him.”
While she recognized her brother in ultrasounds, Mollie didn’t know who Ace was when she first saw his face on a Facebook video call. Nevertheless, she was excited to meet her new baby brother.
Kendra’s parents were to visit later in the day, but Stephen’s parents live in North Carolina and have planned to visit their new grandson for the first time in a few weeks.
To commemorate Ace’s honorary distinction as “Baby New Year,” Cabell Huntington Hospital gave the Zieglers a gift basket containing a $50 gift card, toys and baby supplies.
“The gift of our baby was enough,” Kendra said. “They went above and beyond.”
Information from: The Herald-Dispatch, http://www.herald-dispatch.com