Not only was Declan Bellah Williston's first birth of 2019, but he decided to make his entrance as memorable as possible for his family.
Born at 11:10 p.m. on Tuesday, Declan came into the world at 7 pounds, 7 ounces to parents Sarah and Ben Bellah. The when of Declan's birth is exciting, of course, being the first newborn of the year. The where of his birth is a bit more unexpected.
Sarah said her water had broken, and she had contacted CHI St. Alexius to let them know she was on the way. As husband Ben left their apartment to get the car, Sarah said a quick goodbye to her other children: Eric, 14; Jessie, 12; Jayden, 10 and Tucker, 2. As she went to meet Ben, Sarah said she was struck my a contraction intense enough to cause her to sit down on the steps outside the complex. Sarah said she sat down to catch her breath.
"And he was out!" she said. "(Ben) didn't even get over to me from the car before he was out."
As quickly and carefully as they could, Sarah and Ben bundled up their New Year's baby and took him back inside, where they called CHI and let them know the situation. After a quick clean up, Sarah said they wrapped Declan up and brought him to the hospital, where mother and son have been ever since. Sarah said Declan is doing very well, aside from minor complications.
Adding to the excitement for Sarah, Ben and their family was the fact that none of them knew the sex of baby prior to his arrival.
Sarah said this was the first of her children that she didn't learn the gender beforehand, but that she is thrilled to give her sons another brother. Sarah and Ben are relative newcomers to the area, having only been in Williston for a couple years. Ben works for a local oilfield company, while Sarah is a stay-at-home mom.
As is tradition for the first baby of the year, Declan's family was given a gift basket from CHI St. Alexius, which includes a $50 gift card donated from Western Cooperative Credit Union, as well as a supply of diapers, teething rings, a thermometer, blankets and clothes. CHI Communications Coordinator Amanda Ventura said the hospital and staff donates to the basket, making sure to provide a few of the things a new mother might need.
Sarah said being born in the snow makes Declan a "true North Dakotan," and that he'll be ready for winters in the state for years to come.
"All I can say is that I'm glad it was at least 20 degrees last night and not the -20 that it was the day before," she said.
Declan is the first birth of the year, Ventura said if trends follow the past few years, there will be many more to come in the next 12 months. CHI counted 835 births in 2018, up 45 from 2017. Ventura said the hospital averages around 60 births per month at the facility, and with the opening of CHI's new birthing center only weeks away, she added that the hospital is excited for the benefits the new center will bring to the hospital's new mothers in the coming year.