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New Year's blessing

January 02, 2004|by Pepper Ballard

Eighteen hours and 34 minutes into 2004, Williamsport residents Don and Nancy Ruddle welcomed Jonathan Edward into their lives Thursday as Washington County Hospital delivered its first baby of the year.

"I didn't think I'd be the first one at 6:34 (p.m.)" Nancy Ruddle, 31, said as she looked down at her pink-faced son, who weighed in at 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

Jonathan's birth was a blessing on many levels, she said.

The couple had been trying for 11/2 years to have a child, eventually going to fertility experts for help before it "ended up happening on its own," said Don Ruddle, 34.

In a strange twist of fate, too, Nancy Ruddle said, her employer just switched insurance companies, giving the first day of 2004 a greater significance. She said if she had given birth before Jan. 1, she would have had to deliver the baby at City Hospital in Martinsburg, W.Va., because prior to 2004, Washington County Hospital had been dropped off her employer's list of providers.

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The couple went to City Hospital on Dec. 27 when Nancy Ruddle thought the baby was coming, but she was sent home, four days before her Dec. 31 due date.

When she arrived at the hospital Thursday at 2:30 a.m., Nancy Ruddle said she her contractions were three minutes apart, but they were getting stronger.

Her doctor eventually broke her water at about 12:30 p.m. and began inducing labor.

Ruddle said she walked the halls with another woman who was expected to deliver Thursday, but said that woman was sent home.

Ruddle said she still was feeling the effects of medications Thursday night during the interview, but was happy that her son made the news.

Her brother, Jim Horn, 37, said, "I knew we had a baby coming, but I didn't think it'd be the first one."

Ruddle said the nurses at the hospital kept her posted on her ranking, telling her "you're still the first" as she watched another woman being sent home.

Don Ruddle said if his wife's water hadn't been broken, it's possible the baby may have waited until today to enter the world.

Dorothy Simpson, nursing supervisor at City Hospital in Martinsburg, said Janice Dolak, 37, was the first woman at the hospital to have a baby Thursday, at 7:04 a.m.

Dolak, 37, and John Allen Donivan, 34, of Martinsburg, had a girl, Katie Lynn Donivan, who weighed 7 pounds, 13.6 ounces and measured 183/4 inches, she said.

Dolak said her baby's due date was Christmas, but it had been pushed back. She said she's not concerned about the change in plans.

"It sounds so good. She's a good girl," Dolak said.

A baby boy, weighing 8 pounds, 3 ounces, was born to Ursula Perez, 34, at 1:34 a.m. at Frederick (Md.) Memorial Hospital, a hospital charge nurse said.

A nursing supervisor at Chambersburg Hospital said its first baby was born at 6:15 a.m., but would not release its name or sex.

No babies had been born at Waynesboro (Pa.) Hospital or Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W.Va., as of 9:45 p.m. Thursday, officials said.

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