JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas - Violet Pendleton may not have won the distinction of being San Antonio's first baby of the new year, but she was Brooke Army Medical Center's first baby of 2018.

The 8 pound 14 ounce, 20.2 inch baby girl, born at 2:27 a.m. Jan. 1, is the third child of Petty Officer 1st Class Dylan Pendleton and his wife, Rachel Pendleton.

Each year BAMC is one of several hospitals in San Antonio competing in the New Year baby race.

"There is always a heightened level of excitement in the Labor and Delivery ward on New Year's eve," said Lawanda Clark, clinical nurse officer in charge of Labor and Delivery. "This year we may not have won the city-wide race, but our first baby still received a gift basket full of goodies."

BAMC Commanding General Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Johnson and Warrior Transition Battalion Command Sgt. Maj. Karen Hinckson stopped by for a quick visit to present the family with the gift basket packed with newborn necessities, donated by the BAMC Auxiliary.

BAMC delivered 1,839 babies in 2017.

"We deliver 150 to 160 babies a month," Clark said. "We are very involved in collaborating with patients regarding their birth plans and supporting them as much as possible."

The labor and delivery environment is an extension of that support. With glossy wood floors and inviting colors, the unit has a home-like feel from the moment a family enters the double doors. Expectant moms and their families stay in large, private rooms from labor throughout the postpartum experience.

"We really try to provide a family centered experience in an environment that reminds them of home," Clark said.

The team includes obstetricians and six certified midwives. This mix of specialties enables expectant moms to customize their birthing plan, whether they're set on natural childbirth or open to pain relief interventions.

BAMC recently also adopted the delayed bathing concept. Delaying the bath gives the baby an opportunity to normalize their own core temperature, provides skin-to-skin bonding time with the mother and allows for quality breastfeeding. An additional benefit is protection from infection.

"The care here at BAMC was very good," said Rachel Pendleton. "What I really liked about my experience was the nurses asked me what I wanted to do. They allowed me to do what made me comfortable."