Just before sunrise on the first day of 2014, the first baby of the new year in Denton entered the world.
Landry Jo Harper was born at 6:42 a.m. Wednesday at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Denton to Justin and Jessica Harper of Denton. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and was 21 1/2 inches long.
She is the second child for the Harper couple, who dated as teens at Denton High School and have been married four years. They are also parents of 3-year-old Dillon.
“We were just excited that she came,” Jessica Harper said from her hospital bed Thursday surrounded by family and with her newborn swaddled in a bassinet nearby. “I think it’s an exciting way to start the year.”
Little Landry arrived after a busy New Year’s Eve at the hospital — 15 babies were born before midnight, hospital officials said. Landry was the first of three babies born on New Year’s Day, and she arrived two days after her expected due date.
Her mother arrived at the hospital expecting to be turned away. Jessica Harper said she began experiencing contractions Dec. 30 that eventually “went away.” When the contractions began again about 9 p.m. as the Harpers gathered with family for New Year’s Eve, Jessica Harper said she expected those to go away, too.
But she headed to the hospital anyway, and as she opened the car door about 1:50 a.m. Thursday, her water broke in the hospital parking lot, she said.
“I said, ‘Just kidding. We’re not going home. This is real,’” she said.
The couple learned later in the day that their child was the first baby born at the hospital in 2014.
“It’s exciting,” Justin Harper said.
“The hospital here has been awesome,” Jessica Harper said. “Everyone has been so sweet about her being the first baby of the year.”
The staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Denton prepared gift baskets for the first girl and boy of the new year. Pink and white bows decorated the white laundry basket given to the Harpers, and inside were celebratory blow horns, baby clothing, layettes, bibs, diapers, wipes, items for mom and a congratulatory note.
The Harpers say they expect to take their baby girl home today.
Nearly an hour after Landry’s arrival, Denton Regional Medical Center welcomed its first 2014 newborn, also a baby girl.
Rozalyn Gabrielle Jackson was born at 7:44 a.m. weighing 6 pounds, 9 ounces, and measuring 18 1/2 inches, to Jamie Prescott and Patrick Jackson of Irving, Prescott said Thursday. Rozalyn was born one week after her expected due date of Christmas Day.
According to a Denton Regional Medical Center official, three newborns made their arrival there Wednesday, and the first baby of the new year was also welcomed with a celebratory gift basket.
BRITNEY TABOR can be reached at 940-566-6876 and via Twitter at @BritneyTabor.