By Marjorie Nesin
---- — A nurse leaned over Emily DeCastro’s hospital bed, rattling off her new baby daughter’s weight — 7 pounds, 5 ounces — and providing the date and time of birth — Jan. 1 at 5:44 a.m.
“I was just focusing on getting through everything,” said DeCastro, “It wasn’t until the nurse came in and said the time and dates and ‘Congratulations, she’s our first baby of the new year,’ that I realized it.
Kaia Camilla DeCastro, originally due Dec. 29, was the first baby born this year in the North Shore Birth Center, located on the Beverly Hospital campus. Kaia travels home to Gloucester for the first time today.
But first, mother and baby rested up in the hospital for a couple days. DeCastro relaxed in bed, cradling Kaia on Wednesday afternoon. She shifted the pink cap atop her daughter’s tiny head, sliding it farther from the sleeping baby’s shut eyelids. Almost two days after the birth of her healthy baby, everything had reached a calm, and mother and baby were resting plenty.
“It’s like a tiny celebrity. I didn’t know the New Year’s birth would be such a big deal,” DeCastro said, laughing.
Kaia was not only the first baby of the new year, but is also her family’s first daughter. She was welcomed into the world on New Year’s Day by her mom, her father Flavio DeCastro, and by two curious brothers, 1-year-old Lucas and 3-year-old Jacoby.
“They knew Kaia was coming, but when they actually saw her, they were not sure what to think,” DeCastro said of the boys.
The family had been prepared for a December baby, even cancelling the small church service Sunday that Flavio leads as a pastor each week. DeCastro explained that if she had gone into labor, then following the service, there would be no one to clean up the space which the church shares.
But Emily’s due date passed and a few more days, too. The Decastros were sleeping when the famous Times Square ball dropped, ushering in the New Year. Then, Emily woke early Tuesday morning about 1:30, knowing the time had come, and calmly prepared to venture from her Gloucester home to Beverly where she would deliver Kaia in a water birth.
“It’s a little bit more calm of an experience in the water,” DeCastro said. She has now delivered all three of her children using the alternative method.
Kaia was one of four babies born at the hospital Jan. 1, 2012, with the next baby not arriving until 11:50 a.m., according to a hospital spokeswoman.
The hospital gave a bouquet of flowers to the family and a basket of baby goodies donated by Babies ‘R’ Us. The DeCastros laid a banner that read “First Baby of 2013,” given to them by the hospital, across Kaia’s lap for photos, celebrating the hospital’s first baby of 2013.
“It was a great surprise,” Emily said.
Marjorie Nesin can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3451, or firstname.lastname@example.org.