Nevada County welcomes first baby of year on Jan. 2 | TheUnion.com

Nevada County welcomes first baby of year on Jan. 2

It will be a while before Kevin Andrew Beal Jr. will be able to enjoy the red Radio Flyer wagon currently sitting in his mom's hospital room.

But it's doubtful his proud parents — Kathryn and Kevin Beal — would ever dispose of the precious memento of their son's birth, the first of the new year for Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital.

"Isn't that cool?" Kathryn said, beaming. "I just think it's so cool."

As first baby, Kevin Jr. received not just the wagon, but a full complement of baby supplies from B&C Hardware, Pine Tree Gift Store (inside the hospital), BriarPatch Food Co-op, and Share the Spirit, a unique program funded by hospital employees.

Baby Boy Beal was born at 10:37 a.m. on Jan. 2, weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces, with a full head of hair and measuring 22 inches long.

Kathryn's due date was actually New Year's Eve, she said.

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"I was actually hoping he would come in 2017," she said with a laugh. "I was so anxious for him to get here … nine months is a really long time to wait for a baby."

"But deep down, I knew he would be a little late," Kathryn said.

She had intermittent contractions for a few weeks — but said she knew it was for real this time when she threw up.

Kathryn credited her obstetrician Dr. Richard Goddard, and "amazing" doula, Ashlee Wilkin, for keeping her grounded throughout the birth.

She was in labor 12 hours, she said, adding, "Those 12 hours seemed never-ending."

Laughing, she said Wilkin had to talk her down a few times, adding, "I would not have been able to do it without her."

Her active labor, which lasted about an hour and a half, was "the hardest thing I've ever done."

But Kathryn noted the birth was all-natural, with no medications, saying, "I'm proud of that."

"I was afraid," Kevin said. "She was in so much pain."

But then Kevin Jr. made his appearance.

"I was like, oh my gosh," the new dad said.

Even though the labor nurses mentioned they were waiting for the first baby of the year, Kathryn was still surprised Kevin Jr. ended up taking the title.

"I don't think we knew until after" the delivery, she said, laughing. "It was a little hazy for me."

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at lizk@theunion.com.