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Meet Ashley Kim, Manatee’s first baby of ’09

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Manatee’s first baby of 2009 was a welcome surprise for proud parents Young Kim and Katie Yu.

Scheduled for a Caesarean section on Jan. 7, Kim, 31, and Yu, 28, joked earlier in the week that they should have the procedure done Jan. 1 to have a New Year’s Day baby.

But humor turned to irony as little Ashley Kim didn’t wait for Jan. 7.

“We joked about it and unbelievably, it happened,” said Kim.

Ashley, 7 pounds, 8 ounces, was quite a surprise.

The Korean-born couple, who live off State Road 64 in Bradenton, had gone to Yu’s mother’s house for a New Year’s Eve get together in Tampa. But they weren’t there long. At 11:30 p.m., Yu’s water broke.

“We were only there a couple of hours and had to drive all the way back. It took about an hour,” Kim said.

Yu gave birth to Ashley at 2:29 a.m. at The Women’s Center at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center by Caesarean section. The couple received gift baskets and baby clothes from several local businesses in celebration of having the first baby of 2009 in Manatee.

“We are surprised and very excited,” said Kim.

Ashley is the couple’s second daughter. Ashley’s sister, 2-year-old Rachel, has been anxiously awaiting her baby sister.

“She stayed with my mother-in-law last night and I’m told the first second she opened her eyes this morning she said she wanted to see her new sister,” Kim said.

Yu looked at her sleeping baby New Year’s afternoon and marveled at her child being Manatee’s first baby of 2009.

“I am happy she is a New Year’s baby,” she told Kim in Korean.

Kim said he gave the good news to his family in Korea, and Yu’s mother and sister came from Tampa to gush over the family’s new arrival.

Grandmother Bok Yu grinned from ear to ear as she caressed her granddaughter’s head.

“A New Year’s baby, so precious,” she told Kim.

Yu’s sister, Kyung, took photos and relished the fact she now has a second niece to love.

“I just love kids,” she said. “I am so excited.”

Mother and baby will spend another couple of days in the hospital and then head to Yu’s mother’s home in Tampa for a few weeks, Kim said.

Kim said he’ll take some time off running the family’s Foodland Supermarket in Bradenton.

Another happy couple in Manatee celebrated the birth of a New Year’s Day baby, the first of 2009 at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

At 6:36 a.m., Natasha Evans gave birth to a baby girl at 6:36 a.m., according to Manatee Memorial spokeswoman Betty Chambliss. Baby Demi weighed in at 7 pounds 2 ounces.

The proud father is Dominque Dunbar.

The young couple also received gifts from local businesses as the first baby born in 2009 at Manatee Memorial.

“They also had a lobster dinner,” Chambliss said. ,