Tracey Tong/Metro Ottawa


Jolene and Joel Bailey cuddle their first child, Emilia Grace Bailey, yesterday. Emilia was born at Ottawa General Hospital at 12:11 a.m. on New Year’s Day, making her Ottawa’s first baby of 2008.

Jolene and Joel Bailey were expecting a Christmas baby.

But although the due date came and went, they never expected the baby to arrive on another major holiday.

Weighing six pounds, 13 ounces, Emilia Grace Bailey was born yesterday at Ottawa Hospital’s General campus at 12:11 a.m. on New Year’s Day, making her officially Ottawa’s first baby of 2008.

As coveted as the title would be for some, the first-time parents say it doesn’t matter — they’re just thrilled to have a healthy baby.

“It went really well,” said Jolene, 30, who only learned she was expecting a girl late last week. “They said it was a perfect delivery.”

Already nine days late, Jolene learned during a routine visit to the obstetrician on New Year’s Eve that she was three centimetres dilated.

“We were super excited,” she said.

Hospital staff were also thrilled to have the first baby of the new year. “One nurse said she was here for 23 years and could count on one hand the number of new year’s babies born here,” Jolene said. “The babies (are) usually born at the Civic, so this time, they got the bragging rights.”

“She did great,” Joel, 31, of his wife. “It was fun to be there supporting her. I couldn’t do it. It’s a miracle.”

Gazing at his new daughter, he said, “I feel awesome. It’s a little surreal, at first. It’s so bizarre.”

So what does the couple see in their new year’s baby’s future?

“She seems to like food,” Joel said. “Maybe she’ll be a chef.”

“I think she’s ambitious,” said Jolene. “I think she wants to be the new year’s baby.”

Jolene, a flight attendant, and Joel, a corporate pilot, plan on having a second child in a few years.

Baby bonus

  • In Gatineau, city residents Matemba-Masongi Lisanji and Karhondera-Claud Chishuji earned the distinction of becoming the parents of Gatineau’s first baby of 2008. The couple arrived at Gatineau Hospital at 7 a.m. yesterday and welcomed their fourth child, a girl they named Jane, at 10:50 a.m. The baby was eight pounds, 13 ounces.

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