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Welcome to the world, Jayda
The first baby of 2009 comes earlier than parents expected
Proud parents Richard Vetere and Candi Hornal, center, and big sister Amber Hornal, 16, welcome Jayda Rose Vetere to the world on New Year’s Day at the Women and Children’s Pavilion at Northeast Georgia Medical Canter in Gainesville. Jayda Rose Vetere was born at 2:50 a.m. Thursday. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Jayda Rose Vetere is barely a day old, but she already holds a record in Gainesville that no one will ever be able to beat.

With her arrival at 2:50 a.m. on Jan. 1 at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, she earned the title of Gainesville’s first baby of the new year.

“She was actually due on Jan. 11, so we had no idea that she would be the first baby of the new year,” said Candi Hornal, Jayda’s mother.

After going into labor on Monday, Hornal said she expected to be home to ring in 2009. Instead, she was still in labor.

“(Wednesday) they kept telling us she would be here by midnight, but then it turned 1 and then 2 and she finally came at 2:50,” said Richard Vetere, the baby’s father. “I was just so excited to see her, I could hardly wait.”

The U.S. Census Bureau estimates in January 2009 a child will be born every eight seconds. The bureau also projected that the U.S. population increased by nearly 3 million people between New Year’s Day 2008 and New Year’s Day 2009.

Despite her slightly early arrival, Vetere and Hornal said Jayda is very healthy and weighed in at exactly 6 pounds and is 19 3/4 inches long.

Instead of celebrating New Year’s Eve with friends, big sister Amber Hornal, 16, stayed by her mother’s side awaiting Jayda’s arrival.

“I’m really excited,” Amber said. “We were here all night waiting for her. We didn’t even know it was midnight, until one of the nurses brought us glow-in-the-dark bracelets to celebrate the new year.”

Besides being the first baby of 2009, baby Jayda is also the first New Year’s baby born at the hospital’s new Women and Children’s Pavilion. The state-of-the-art birthing facility opened in November.

Although she’s too young to celebrate now, Vetere said he sees a few midnight birthday celebrations in Jayda’s future.