• 70°

A day late but right on time: County’s first baby arrives on Jan. 2

By Carl Blankenship
carl.blankenship@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY – Entering the world on Thursday rather than New Year’s Day, Cain Ortega was the first baby born at Rowan Medical Center in 2020.

Weighing in at 7 pounds and 4 ounces, Ortega is the fourth child of Melissa and Diego Ortega. The couple has two other boys and one girl. Cain was delivered at 8:42 a.m. on Thursday.

The couple, from Lexington, was surprised to have the first birth in the county. A cesarean section was already planned for Thursday to clear the holiday, and New Year’s Day came and went with no other births at the hospital.

Melissa said having the first baby born in the county made the experience more unique and that it was incredible to see how each child is their own person.

Melissa said sleep would be first on her to-do list when she was released on Saturday. 

“When they told us he was the first baby, we didn’t believe it because it was the second (of January),” Diego said.

Having the first baby born in the county comes with some perks. For at least 15 years, the family of the first baby is greeted by Smart Start Rowan with a gift basket. Smart Start is a nonprofit that serves children up to age five with a long list of programs falling under family support, literacy, early care, education, health and safety.

The basket was filled with toys, gift cards and other goodies for the parents as well as the new baby.This year, the basket included a massage and a facial as well as some movie tickets among the other goods. Wheeled in on a cart, the basket dominated the family’s room in the hospital. 

All of the items in the basket were donated, and this year’s was the biggest basket the Smart Start has ever delivered.  Outreach and Development Specialist Sarah Payntar said this year’s basket is worth between $400 and $500.

“We do that to ensure that children are healthy and ready to succeed when they enter school,” said Executive Director Amy Brown.

This was the first year since Smart Start began delivering a basket without a delivery on New Year’s Day, something Brown said she was surprised by. There were a handful of babies delivered on both Thursday and Friday.

Brown could not recall any specific families who have received the basket and then used Smart Start’s services, but she imagines the popularity of the event and word of mouth helps spread the word about Smart Start.

“I always make sure we talk to the family in the room about the services that we offer and where we’re located,” Brown said.

Smart Start Board Chair Susan Herrington said the Ortegas were a perfect family to receive the basket because they have other kids that could take advantage of Smart Start’s programs for young children.

“It’s a good way to let the community know about the good work that we’re doing,” Brown said.

Comments

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 outbreak emerges at N.C. State Veterans Home, another declared over

Crime

Police: Two armed men rob local convenience store

Crime

Blotter: Local woman swindled out of hundreds in gift card scam

News

‘People are the parade’: Salisbury’s annual Christmas parade reinvents itself in year of coronavirus

News

Commissioners grant permit, allow Reaper’s Realm to continue operations for remainder of Halloween season

Elections

Republican Rep. Budd maintains fundraising lead over Democratic challenger Huffman

Local

City council to consider ‘Share 2 Care’ fund for locals behind on water, sewer payments

Education

None speak against closure during hearing to shutter Faith Elementary

Crime

Blotter: Police find car windows shot out, bullet holes in home on West Horah Street

Crime

Five held at gunpoint in East Lafayette Street robbery

Ask Us

Ask Us: Readers ask questions about Shober Bridge, voting safeguards

Elections

Political notebook: More than 1.4 million votes cast already in North Carolina

Elections

‘Souls to the polls’: More than 1,300 cast ballots on first Sunday of early voting

Crime

Crime blotter: Salisbury man faces charges for firing shotgun in city limits, drug possession

Local

Search continues for missing hiker from Asheville

Local

A stroll through the scarecrows: fall-themed activity draws visitors to NC Transportation Museum

Elections

Despite scandal, Cunningham maintains small lead in Senate race; supporters say policy positions more important

Lifestyle

Rowan Helping Ministries golf tournament raises $20,000

Local

Town of Spencer forging ahead five years after drafting plans for Park Plaza

Business

Biz Roundup: RCCC to host conference on diversity, equity and inclusion

Business

Elderberry syrup: the popular purple product that has become a mainstay in local stores

Local

Trinity Oaks to host Halloween Spooktacular

Entertainment

Lee Street theatre improves virus prevention tactics, “determined” for ‘Fun Home’ to open

News

Deficient NC absentee ballots frozen pending further rulings