Folks welcome in the New Year in a variety of ways, from champagne parties to quiet nights at home with a fire and their family. But Kelle Lalko and her husband Steven of Aurora will remember this New Year’s Day as the one in which their daughter, Ella Marie, was the first baby born in 2014 at Edward Hospital in Naperville, arriving at 1:11 Wednesday morning.
“We’re going to have to have birthday parties from now on instead of going out,” said Kelle Lalko, who works as a physical education teacher in District 204. “No more going out until 2 a.m. for us, but it’s going to be wonderful to celebrate a birthday New Year’s Eve.”
Ella was born three weeks early and weighed 5 pounds 8 ounces. She is the second daughter of the Lalkos, who have a 2½-year old named Emma who Kelle said is anxiously awaiting her sister to come home.
“Emma has been practicing taking care of her sister with a couple of dolls she has been carrying around,” Kelle said. “She’s definitely looking forward to being the big sister.”
Staff at Edward said that the first baby born at the hospital each year is a “big deal” and that the OBGYN staff at the hospital “is sort of competitive about who gets to deliver the first baby.”
“People were definitely talking about it, and we were watching the board where we post how patients are doing,” said Amy Stoeffler of Glen Ellyn, who was the doctor that delivered Ella. “Over the years that I’ve delivered babies, there have been a few born right after midnight, and this is fun for everyone. The nursing staff gets very competitive too, but this year the title goes to me.”
Stoeffler said Kelle’s delivery was very routine and that both mother and baby are doing fine.
“Kelle came in around 3:30 yesterday afternoon and things were very normal throughout the birth,” she said.
Joyce Wedgewood, who has worked at Edward for 10 years, was the nurse who helped deliver Ella and said this was the third time she has been involved with the first baby born at the hospital.
“It’s very odd that I seem to take care of the mothers of the first-born babies a lot,” Wedgewood said. “There’s always excitement about it here, and even though the baby wasn’t born at midnight, the first one of the New Year is always special.”
Wedgewood said normally about 3 to 4 babies are born during the night but that the Lalkos baby was the only one delivered through the night.
Steve Lalko said he is excited about his girls and that while he is “shocked” to have the first baby born in Naperville this year, being the first “is pretty cool.”
“It’s fun to see that it happened, and the only question we had was whether we were going to get a 2013 tax reduction or a birthday on January 1,” he said with a laugh. “When Kelle got admitted, I thought we were really on pace to have a baby before the end of the year, and we were definitely keeping our fingers crossed and watching the other moms.”
“The most important thing is that Ella is healthy and she’s perfect,” Kelle said. “We didn’t name her until she came, and the fact that both girls have names that start with an ‘E’ is just a coincidence. ‘Ella’ was the name we both liked.”