Meritus Medical Center welcomes its first new year's baby

January 02, 2011|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Travis Denney and Shalynn Cook look at their newborn son, Elliott Pearson Denney, Sunday at Meritus Medical Center. Elliott, who was born Sunday, was the first baby born in the new year in Washington County and the first new year's baby ever at the medical center.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — An experienced mom, Shalynn Cook was prepared for baby No. 3.

With her due date still two weeks away, Cook had her bag packed at her Mount Airy home, in Frederick County, Md., so she'd be ready to go to the hospital for the big moment.

But Elliott Pearson Denney had other ideas.

Mom's water broke around midnight Saturday as she was driving to the Hagerstown area to pick up her son, Brandon, who was at his great-grandmother's house with an irritated ear.

Elliott became Meritus Medical Center's first new year's baby ever. He was delivered at 6:53 a.m. Sunday by midwife Donna Loftin, according to hospital spokeswoman Linda Norris.

Meritus opened east of Hagerstown in December, replacing Washington County Hospital in downtown Hagerstown.

"My water broke right as I took the exit" for Sharpsburg Pike off Interstate 70, said Cook, 25.

"I was scared because I've never had my water break," Cook said. During her previous two deliveries, a nurse broke her water, she said.

For first-time dad Travis Denney, it was "a little bit nerve-racking at first. (That) all faded into the background once he popped out."

Elliott weighed 6 pounds, 6 ounces and was 19 inches long.

Tucked in a soft blue swaddler and wearing a little cap, only Elliott's face was visible at first. When the cap was removed, a full head of blond hair was swirled around his scalp.

As of early Sunday afternoon, Elliott hadn't met big brothers Tyler Cook, 7, and Brandon Cook, 6. Shalynn Cook said she was expecting to be able to take Elliott home today or Tuesday.

A sign of just how unexpected Elliott's arrival was the fact that his father sat nearby still wearing his pajamas.

After Cook's water broke, the couple made it to her grandmother's house, left Brandon there and Denney took over the wheel, driving Cook to the hospital.

The old hospital, that is.

As soon as they saw the gates everywhere, they realized their mistake and got back on U.S. 40 to head to Meritus, said Denney 30, who works for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md.

Cook's six-hour labor was easier than her first two, but not easy, she said.

Around 1 p.m. Sunday, Cook hadn't slept for more than 24 hours.

Elliott was doing better, getting into a routine of wanting to eat about every three hours and falling back  to sleep, Cook said.

Denney said it was still too soon to tell if Elliott resembled anyone in the family.

He's already carrying on a family tradition. Pearson is the middle name of all the men on Denney's father's side of the family, he said.

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