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New Year's babies right on time

January 02, 1997

By LAURA ERNDE

Staff Writer

Kathi and Keith McCrady planned an uneventful New Year's Eve. The most excitement they thought they would have was shooting pool.

But the Hagerstown couple never made it to a pool hall. Instead, they found themselves at Washington County Hospital's birthing center, where their first child, Madison Kaci, was born 51 minutes into 1997.

The first baby born in the Tri-State area this year was Austin Michael Bradford, who was delivered at 12:05 a.m. at Martinsburg (W.Va.) City Hospital.

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But little Madison made an effort to be part of the New Year's Day celebration. Madison, wearing a knit cap made by Washington County Hospital volunteers, arrived a week-and-a-half early.

"It was a very big surprise," said Kathi McCrady, 24, who plans to take at least six weeks off work at Citicorp. Keith McCrady works at R.G.I.S. in Halfway.

Madison came into the world so quickly that her grandparents missed the big event.

"All of us had planned to be here. We thought we had all the time in the world," said maternal grandmother Norma DiGiacinto, who drove to the hospital from Fairfax, Va., Wednesday morning.

Eileen and Dan McCrady were on vacation in Ocean City, Md., when they got the call about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday.

"We celebrated New Year's on Route 50," said Dan McCrady. By the time they got home to New Carrollton, Md., Madison was born.

Madison is the first granddaughter for each couple.

"There's a slight chance she'll be spoiled," said Dan McCrady.

Kathi McCrady, holding her 6-pound, 12-ounce baby girl, was still glowing Wednesday afternoon.

"It's hard to fall asleep when you just want to look and watch," she said.

Kathy Lowery, 26, also couldn't sleep Wednesday after giving birth to her second daughter, Alivia Dawne Lowery, at 8:19 a.m. at Chambersburg (Pa.) Hospital.

"I'm too overwhelmed. I'm too excited. She brought in the new year just perfectly," said Kathy Lowery.

Mike and Kathy Lowery didn't go out for New Year's Eve. They went to bed early and set the alarm so they could be awake at midnight.

"Been up ever since," she said.

The couple's first daughter, Kaylyn Lowery, 6, witnessed the birth. She even cut the cord for her baby sister.

The Tri-State area's first New Year's Day baby, Austin, was determined to be be born in 1997, said his parents, Kristie Bradford, 20, and Roy Bradford, 23.

Kristie Bradford's Dec. 19 due date came and went. Then, the Ranson, W.Va., couple hoped Austin, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, would arrive before Christmas.

Doctors finally induced labor at 1 p.m. Tuesday.

"He's going to have one heck of a birthday party. At midnight, we'll yell because it's New Year's, wait a few minutes and holler `happy birthday.'"

Jeff and Angela Minnick of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., also were surprised to have a New Year's baby.

Patrick Ryan, who weighed in at 8 pounds, 13 ounces, was born at Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital.

"I'm glad it's over. It feels pretty good," said Jeff Minnick, 42, a shop supervisor at Landis Tool Co. in Waynesboro.

The couple has two other children, David, 4, Alison, 6. And Jeff Minnick has a son, Jason, 15, from a previous marriage.

"The kids are all excited," he said.

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