WARNER ROBINS -- When Carissa and Zach Abney of Warner Robins were expecting, they had a reveal event for family and friends to learn whether the new addition to their family was a boy or a girl.
They didn’t even know themselves until at a barbecue planned for the reveal.
At 10:17 a.m. Thursday at The Women’s Center at Houston Medical Center, their baby girl had a reveal of her own: She became the first baby born in the 2015 New Year at a hospital in Houston County. Houston Healthcare’s other hospital in Perry does not have a delivery unit.
Arabella Abney, who weighs 5 pounds and 6 ounces and is 18.25 inches long, arrived a few weeks earlier than expected.
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“It felt like we won something,” her father Zach Abney said with a smile when asked about the New Year’s baby designation.
The Crochet Club of Middle Georgia dispatched a huge gift basket to greet the new born.
Her brother, 12-year-old John Menjes, and sister, 5-year-old Ava Abney, are anxious to met her, their mom said.
“They’re excited,” Carissa Abney said. “I’m sure they’re ready to come up here, and I’ve been trying to hold it slow today.”
The siblings played a key role in the reveal of the baby’s sex a few months earlier.
A girlfriend of their mom was given an ultrasound photo of the baby in an envelope that her parents had not seen. She placed the envelope in a box, filled it with pink balloons and wrapped it.
John and Ava unwrapped the box at the barbecue.
“I didn’t want to find out until we could all find out as a family,” Carissa Abney said. “We all found out together.”
When asked about dreams or aspirations for their newborn, the Abneys kept it simple: health and happiness.
They also requested prayers for Arabella.
“That’s all we can ask for,” Zach Abney said.
The newborn was placed in intensive care after her first bath Thursday as a precaution due to some respiratory issues, the Abneys said.
Arabella was loved before she was even conceived. Her mother said she’s been longing for another child for thee years -- including a year of when she and her husband tried very hard to have a baby but gave up after it didn’t happen. Then suddenly, just as soon as they’d given up hope and thought that it wasn’t meant to be, Arabella was conceived.
“I love you,” her father tells Arabella in a Telegraph video. Her mother chimes in, “We’re glad you’re here, even though it’s early.”
Meanwhile, the Medical Center, Navicent Health, recorded the first baby of the New Year at Bibb County’s two hospitals.
The healthy baby boy arrived at 3:08 a.m., said Sheila Gaines, nurse supervisor.
He weighs 6 pounds and 1.5 ounces and is 19 inches tall, Gaines said.
The mother, who declined an interview, was given a big gift basket by the hospital staff, a traditional gift for the first baby born in the New Year, Gaines said.
To contact writer Becky Purser, call 256-9559.