Ava Leanna was late for Christmas -- but she was right on time for New Year's.
"It was exciting," said Cassidy Barr, who gave birth to the Capital Region's first baby of the year at 12:02 a.m. New Year's Day.
"I wasn't expecting her to come New Year's because her due date was the day after Christmas," added Barr, 17, who checked into Bellevue Woman's Center -- part of Ellis Medicine -- on Monday and remained in the center on Thursday. "I thought she was going to come before Christmas or on Christmas, I was having contractions."
Barr was in labor for 11 hours. Ava arrived at 8 pounds, 7 ounces. The baby was 20 inches long and showed off a full head of dark brown hair to her mom, doctors and nurses.
The area's newest celebrity, dressed in pink pants and a gray top decorated with tiny black hearts, gurgled, kicked and cried a few times as she and her mother met the media. A small stuffed pink elephant toy kept Ava company above the blankets.
The new mom -- who has decided to keep Ava's last name confidential -- will always remember the first moments with her baby. There was plenty of cuddling.
"I looked at her the whole night," Barr said. "I can't believe she's here, I can't believe she's mine."
Barr, who lives in Colonie, said her family and friends are excited about the new addition. "No one in our family has holiday birthdays," Barr said, adding Ava Leanna's future birthday celebrations will begin New Year's Eve and continue into New Year's Day.
Area hospitals compare notes to determine where the year's first baby is delivered.
"What's been done in the past and what we did this year, is there's a group of all the hospitals in the Capital Region, all the way to Glens Falls, the ones in Albany, out west to Amsterdam," said Leah LaPointe, manager of marketing communications for Ellis Medicine.
"We all have a group email we're doing," LaPointe added. "By a certain time, I think it's 9 o'clock on New Year's morning, everybody is asked to send to the group an email of if you had a baby. A few of the hospitals, one was in labor but there was not a baby yet and a couple had not had babies delivered."
Through the email network, it was determined the Capital Region's first baby of 2020, as well as the new decade, had arrived at Bellevue.
"At that point, it's up to us to go forth with however we're going to proceed with the media," LaPointe said.
Barr is a student at the South Colonie High School Outreach Program and expects to graduate this summer.
"My teachers are very nice, they had a little baby shower for me," she said. "They're letting me, if I want to be home-schooled for the rest of the year and do my work at home or take her in with me while I'm working. They're cooperating with me."
Barr eventually hopes to enter BOCES and train to become a certified nursing assistant. She will continue rest and care for Ava when she returns home to Colonie Friday.
Contact Gazette reporter Jeff Wilkin at 518-395-3124 or at [email protected]