A young Iowa couple is celebrating the new year in joyous fashion following the birth of the first baby of 2013 at St. Francis Hospital & Health Services.
Coming into the world a month earlier than expected, Jayden Allen Thomsen was born at 9:36 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 1, to Kelcy Davison and Jacob Thomson of Bedford.
The infant boy weighed in at 5 pounds, 8 ounces and measured 18 and a half inches.
Though small, Jayden Allen is healthy, happy and headed home with mom and dad possibly as early as today.
"He certainly has a strong set of lungs," quipped Thomsen of his newborn son.
As is traditional following the birth of the Maryville hospital's first baby of a new year, the parents were presented with a basket of gift items from the St. Francis gift shop along with an assortment of infant-care products.
Thomson works at the Kawasaki Motors plant in Maryville, and Davison is employed by Taylor Ridge Estates, a residential care facility north of Bedford. The couple is planning a September wedding.
It's been a busy year for the obstetrics staff at St. Francis, which unlike the rest of the country has experienced anything but a decline in birth rates.
Hospital spokesperson Rita Miller said 325 babies were welcomed by the maternity unit in 2012, a 23 percent increase over the 265 infants born in Maryville in 2011.
Back in October, a spate of news stories reported a decline in the annual number of U.S. births for the fourth year in a row, with observers speculating that couples were putting off having children due to the weak economy.
However, the 2011 decline was just 1 percent, a less severe fall-off than the 2 to 3 percent drop seen in other recent years.
Falling birth rates are a relatively new phenomenon in this country. Births had been on the rise since the late 1990s and hit an all-time high of more than 4.3 million in 2007. But fewer than 4 million births were counted in 2011, the lowest number since 1998, according to the Associated Press.