Reina P. Cunningham
Heather Ables recalls waking up at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, experiencing labor pains. She woke her husband, Kevin, and her mother, Sherrie Barnett.
In a matter of only about 15 minutes, Bell County’s first baby of 2013 — Riley Thomas Ables — was born on the living room floor of the family’s home at Fourmile.
The family members recall that as they prepared to leave for the hospital, things became intense.
“My water literally broke and then here he was,” said Heather with a smile in her hospital room on Thursday.
Recalling some of the morning’s events, Heather said her mother delivered the baby with her husband’s help. Kevin had gathered towels and blankets, called the ambulance, and worked to make sure the couple’s 4-year-old daughter, Savannah, was OK. The ambulance arrived shortly after the birth.
“The ambulance ride was awkward because the (baby’s) umbilical cord had not been cut yet,” said Heather.
Riley weighed 6 pounds, 13.2 ounces. He was 19 inches long.
The baby arrived 10-days early, as the due date had been set for Jan. 12.
Dr. Susan Robertson, board certified OB-GYN, was the attending physician when Heather and Riley arrived at the hospital. Although Robertson was not the OB-GYN who treated her during the pregnancy, she is one of three doctors staffing the ARH’s Women’s Health Center of Middlesboro. Heather received prenatal treatment at the center.
“I have no complaints,” said Heather about not having her prenatal doctor deliver her baby. “I have (now) dealt with all three doctors and both of my babies are perfect.”
Heather was not the only one happy with the delivery. “I have been delivering babies since 1997 and this is my first ever New Year’s baby,” said Robertson.
Riley’s older sister, Savannah, was born at Middlesboro ARH on Jan. 13, 2008.
Mom and baby were reportedly doing fine and expecting to go home today.
Middlesboro ARH presented mother and baby with various gifts on Thursday afternoon. Each baby born at ARH receives a care package, but the hospital likes to give the New Year’s baby some extra special gifts.
Heather and Riley received a bouquet of balloons and a large baby bath tub filled with diapers, baby powder, bath supplies, a $100 gift card and an engraved silver spoon. In addition to gifts from ARH, the Ables received a $100 savings account from the ARH Federal Credit Union.
In 2012, Middlesboro ARH Hospital delivered 307 babies.
According to a hospital spokesman, Middlesboro ARH Hospital offers private labor-delivery-recovery rooms with private baths in a home-like atmosphere where the focus is on a family-centered birthing experience.
Once the baby is born, the hospital offers rooming in for parents and baby to enhance newborn teaching with a newborn nursery nurse available and dedicated to this service 24 hours a day.
Reina Parker Cunningham is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. She can be contacted via email at email@example.com or by phone at 606-248-1010, ext. 205.