SMH still awaits New Year’s baby

Published 1:20 pm Saturday, January 7, 2012

FRANKLIN—Bettie Nichols is somewhat baffled.

Six days into 2012, and Southampton Memorial Hospital has not delivered its New Year’s baby.

“I don’t have a clue about what’s going on,” said Nichols, a registered nurse and the clinical coordinator of the Woman’s Suite at the Franklin hospital.

SMH typically delivers 20 to 25 babies a month, which is close to one daily, she said. The last baby born in 2011 was around 6:30 on New Year’s Eve.

Anne Williams, director of marketing at SMH, said over the past few years, the first baby was born a day or two into the new year.

“Since I’ve been here, we haven’t gone this long without a baby,” Williams said Friday. “By this weekend or next week, we will probably have three or four in at the same time.”

In 2011, the parents with the New Year’s baby at SMH did not want the news publicized, but in 2010, the first baby — Ayden Jayce Whitehead — was born at 8:46 a.m. Jan. 3 to Alethia Whitehead and Michael Johnson.

As of Friday, Nichols said there were at least three women waiting in the wings, but none were in labor.

The hospital annually gives the parents of the New Year’s baby a gift basket. This year’s includes a picture frame, brushes and combs, a stuffed animal, diapers, formula and more.

The hospital is also preparing to unveil its Tiny Toes program for new mothers. Out-of-town family members will be able to see newborns online with parent permission, and receive discounts from local merchants and books on what to expect during a baby’s first year. The hospital also likes to serve an intimate dinner to parents of newborns.

“We bring it up on a folding cart with linens and flowers and make it real special,” Williams said.