When Crystal Harris realized her son would be the area’s first baby born in 2014, she was not only excited, the Macon mother was genuinely shocked.
“It was a surprise,” said Harris, 27. “It was a major shock.”
After all, Rodney Arness Johnson III (who will be called R.J.) was due to come into the world on Jan. 20. But, at 1:28 a.m. Wednesday, R.J. was born at The Medical Center of Central Georgia, weighing 5 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 18 inches.
He’s the first child for Harris and Rodney Arness Johnson Jr., who kissed and gazed at their sleeping son, bundled in a blue-striped one-piece and a knitted cap.
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“There’s a lot of mixed emotions right now,” Johnson said. “Overall, I’m excited. At first, I was kind of nervous. But, when I found out he was going to be a New Year’s baby, it just made things even more exciting. So I’m happy, very happy.”
R.J. sometimes wrinkled his nose and moved his tiny hands, but otherwise slept soundly as his parents, visitors and nurses doted upon him.
In fact, when R.J. was born, the delivery room erupted into cheers, laughter and applause. Everyone was ecstatic to welcome the New Year’s baby, but the commotion made Harris a bit anxious, she said.
“It was a lot of pressure ... and I was extremely nervous,” she said, adding R.J. is her first child, but she has been around her nieces and nephews. “I hope I’ll be a good mom, I really do.”
The excitement continued after the birth, as the hospital staff gave the new parents a three-tiered gift.
“It’s always really fun for our hospital to have the New Year’s baby,” said Camille Clary, a registered nurse.
Johnson placed the towering present near Harris and began unwrapping one box at a time. The parents beamed as they garnered baby wipes, blankets, clothes, diapers and other necessities.
“These will be much needed,” Johnson said.