Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 3, 2013

SALISBURY — Jose Antonio Pena Mejia came into the world on his own time. He was supposed to be born Dec. 29. Instead, he was the first baby born in Rowan County in 2013.

Jose is the fourth child and only boy for Maria Soledad Mejia-Pacheco of China Grove.

He was born Tuesday morning at 11:28, weighing in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces and measuring 17 and a half inches long.

He was a quick and easy delivery, Mejia-Pacheco said via interpreter Mario Velazquez.

She didn’t have time to receive any pain medication before her son was born.

Her other children, Jiromi, Cintia and Aurora are all excited, Mejia-Pacheco said.

“My family is happy he was born on that day,” she said.

Her pain began around 7:30 p.m. Monday and her contractions began a week ago, she said.

On average the hospital delivers one to two babies a day.

“We see miracles happen every day in our department. Every birth is the start of a new life, full of hope and potential for the new family,” said Rowan Regional Nurse Manager Jessica Seaford.

Seaford works in the hospital’s Family Maternity Center.

She said the staff at the maternity center is always excited when the New Year’s holiday rolls around.

“While we celebrate every delivery here at Rowan, there is just something about that first baby that gives you perspective on the fresh start that lies ahead of us all,” Seaford said.

The family received a gift basket from Smart Start Rowan, which contained various items from area businesses and organizations.

Smart Start Rowan board chairwoman Martha Baker presented the basket on behalf of the organization along with Tracy Webb-Goodman.

The hospital has had a longstanding relationship with Smart Start Rowan and is “continually grateful for their generosity,” she said.

Mejia-Pacheco will be released today.

Hours before Mejia-Pacheco delivered her baby, another Rowan family was welcoming their newborn at Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.

Aubrey Brooke Price, weighing in at 7 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 21 inches long, was the first newborn of the year at the Concord hospital. The daughter of Jamie Brown and Ryan Price of Salisbury, Aubrey was delivered after five hours of labor at 5:04 a.m.

The couple have two other children, a 7-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. Unlike Jose, who was born late, Aubrey was born early. Her mother said she was due Wednesday.

Brown said she began having labor pains around 7 p.m. on Monday, but didn’t go to the hospital until midnight. Brown and Price were given a gift basket from the hospital. The family left the hospital Wednesday afternoon.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.