Elida Zepeda and Juventino Castillo received a special New Year's gift as they welcomed their baby, the first born on Long Island in 2011, at 12:03 a.m. Saturday morning at the .
Jalen Ruby Castillo Zepeda weighed in at seven pounds, 13 ounces, and she measured 20 inches long at the time of her birth.
Originally scheduled to have their child on Jan. 3, the Hempstead couple came to the hospital at 8:30 p.m. on Friday and Castillo was ready to deliver.
"It was the baby's time to come," Castillo, 23, said. "They come when they are ready."
Jalen is the happy couple's second child. Her older brother is back home in Guatemala with his grandparents.
Connie Natale, who has worked at NUMC for 23 years, was the delivery nurse for Castillo, and she said it was rather exceptional how quickly the birthing process progressed.
"When my shift started at 11 p.m., she was seven to eight centimeters dilated, and she was actively pushing," Natale said. "Going from that to delivery in less than an hour is very fast."
If the delivery moved at a more customary pace, Natale said, the baby would have been born closer to 2 a.m.
Hospital workers were well aware that there was a chance Castillo would have Long Island's first baby of 2011, and there was plenty of buzz in the hospital as midnight approached.
"It was very exciting as it was unfolding," Natale said. "All of my co-workers were very happy for her, and everyone was congratulating them."
Castillo said that she was well aware of the circumstances of her birth.
"I was thinking I was going to have the baby right at the beginning of the year," Castillo said. "I was hoping for that."
Zepeda, 28, has high hopes for his new baby daughter.
"All parents hope that their child will have the best and be the best," he said.