Norma and Salvador Gaona celebrated the start of a new decade a bit differently than most: by welcoming their fourth son into the world.
Edahi Valentio Gaona Maldonado was born at 12:08 a.m. Wednesday at the University of Virginia Medical Center, immediately distinguishing himself as the first child born in the Charlottesville area this year and this decade.
Because of risks to his health, Edahi was delivered more than two weeks before his Jan. 18 due date. He weighed in at 5.5 pounds and measured 18.31 inches in length.
Despite running on less than three hours of sleep, Edahi’s family was all smiles Wednesday afternoon as they gathered around Norma’s hospital bed, taking turns cradling the child.
Salvador Gaona said he was happy and excited to have a child born on the first day of a new year. Even with a medical mask sometimes on his face, the father couldn’t hide his smile as he looked upon his new son.
“It feels special — we are celebrating a new year and a new life at the same time,” he said. “Every child is special and unique.”
Edahi is the Charlottesville couple’s fourth child, joining his brothers, ages 20, 16 and 7.
Having now seen all three of his siblings at this point in their lives, the oldest brother, also named Salvador, said he is able to appreciate these moments differently.
“It’s pretty cool that my brother was the first baby born in Charlottesville — that will be a fun story to tell him when he gets older,” he said.
Edahi wasn’t the only baby born on Jan. 1 at the UVa Medical Center — four others were born as of 3 p.m. and a member of the medical staff said she expected at least two more would come before the day was over.
At Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, the first baby was born at 1:40 a.m.