William Beaumont Army Medical Center welcomed the first baby girl and boy of 2018 delivered at WBAMC, Jan. 1st.

Lilith Livilia Velardo and Bentley Ray Horton were delivered on New Year's Day at WBAMC. Lilith, who arrived at 8:45 a.m., weighed in at 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and measured 19 inches.

Lilith's parents, Carlamarie Silvestrini and Pfc. Dexter Velardo, a signal support systems specialist with the 22nd Chemical Battalion, Fort Bliss, were expecting to deliver on Dec. 24 but ended up coming to WBAMC on Dec. 31 to induce labor.

"It was 8:10 before she began active labor," said Velardo, a native of Bronx, New York.

Although Silvestrini was already past her due date, she never expected to give birth on New Year's Day.

"I didn't think that (the due date) would pass. I didn't even think about being here on the 31st but I liked it," said Silvestrini, a native of Puerto Rico. "The nurses and doctors were amazing, explained everything again and again, in many ways to help us understand. (The experience was) perfect, it was perfect."

Silvestrini was surprised to learn that Lilith was the hospital's first baby in 2018. According to the 22-year-old first-time mom, the New Year's Baby tradition is not practiced much in Puerto Rico, so the celebratory delivery amazed her.

Approximately two hours following Lilith's delivery, 7-pound, 4-ounce Bentley was born to parents Morgan and Pvt. Corbin Horton, a combat engineer with the 16th Engineer Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, at 10: 42 a.m. The hospital's first baby boy and second delivery in 2018 measured 19.5 inches at delivery.

"We got here at 12:45 a.m.," said Morgan, a 20-year-old first-time mom. "(The experience and delivery) was good, I liked all the doctors. It was a little hectic but calm and peaceful."

Morgan, a native of Pflugerville, Texas, was expecting to deliver on Jan. 2 but was rushed to the hospital after her water broke, four minutes after watching the Times Square ball drop on television. Morgan was planning on utilizing WBAMC's immersion hydrotherapy services to help ease pain during labor but was unable to use due to having her labor induced via medication.

Regardless, both Morgan and Corbin, a native of Hutto, Texas, were excited to celebrate their baby's birthdate.

"I thinks it's cool," said the Hortons about Bentley's birthdate. "My birthday always fell on the first day of school so I'm glad he'll have school off," said Morgan.

Both newborns and their parents were presented with gift baskets by WBAMC's commander, Col. Erik Rude.

"It was a joint effort within our department (Labor, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum) to collect for these baskets," said Capt. Marimon Maskell, clinical nurse officer in charge, Maternal-Child Health Services, WBAMC. "Our Morale Committee collected donations from our team members, and created a pair of baskets."

According to Maskell, the staff traditionally gifts baskets full of newborn supplies such as diapers, wipes and clothing, to the first baby delivered in the New Year. This year's collection was so generous, the Morale Committee decided to gift two baskets toward the first baby boy and baby girl of the year.

In 2017, WBAMC delivered 1,250 babies in addition to being recognized as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite for strives toward supporting employed mothers who wish to express and store breastmilk and recognition for efforts toward 96 percent hepatitis B vaccinations among newborns by the Immunization Action Coalition. The hospital also began issuing safe-sleep blankets which minimize the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome to all newborns.

Future efforts expected in 2018 include an expected Baby-Friendly designation, a significant benchmark for hospitals which support breastfeeding, and increased effort in supporting community-based programs aimed at new parents.

"We're in our last step toward achieving baby-friendly status and we're looking very good," said Maskell. "We're trying to really strengthen the relationship with the New Parent Support Program because our patients feed directly into them. We're making sure our patients are aware of all the resources available to them."

For families expecting to deliver this year, Maskell emphasizes the support available at WBAMC for new and returning moms.

"We're here to help guide them and provide information throughout their prenatal care so once they actually do deliver and are admitted to our unit they are very informed and as prepared as we can get them," said Maskell. "Try to absorb what you can while you're pregnant, let us know if you have questions about what we do in the hospital so we can make your experience what you want it to be."