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Hospitals await Year 2000 babies

December 28, 1999|By DAVE McMILLION, Charles Town

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - It is common to honor the first baby born in a new year, but with the turn of the century just three days away, the tradition is taking on a new importance this year.

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Several hospitals across the Tri-State area plan to shower new millennium babies and their families with gift certificates, photo packages, baby care products, flowers and even limousine service.

At City Hospital in Martinsburg, both the last baby of the century and the first baby of the next will be recognized, said hospital spokeswoman Christy Polak.

Melanie Riley, assistant nursing manager of the hospital's birth center, suggested earlier this year that the hospital do something special for the first arrival in 2000, Polak said.

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The hospital encouraged local businesses to donate items that could be awarded to the lucky family, she said.

Among the donations, Miss Irene's Day Care Center gave $150 worth of day-care services, two photo packages were given and a party supply shop donated two birthday party packages to be given to the families, Polak said.

Hospital officials said some couples have planned millennium babies.

Some have even indicated an interest in induced labor on New Year's day, but City Hospital officials will not force births for that reason, Polak said.

The hospital's birth center was already busy Tuesday.

"We're hopping today. We have five (expectant mothers) and two more on the way," Polak said.

At Waynesboro Hospital in Waynesboro, Pa., the first baby born in 2000 will get flowers, an engraved gift and a $200 gift certificate. The parents will get a ride home from a local limousine service, said hospital spokeswoman Sheran White.

At Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., a baby bathtub full of gifts will be given to the woman who gives birth to the first baby in the new year, said hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe.

Hospital officials said they are not sure how the tradition of honoring New Year's babies began.

McCabe said she thinks it is a little fun competition between hospitals to see which will deliver the first baby.

"Not that we have any control over that, certainly," she said.

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