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Jake Austin was due Jan. 14 but surprises parents with 2:22 a.m. arrival

BRADENTON — Seven-pound, 13-ounce Jake Austin surprised his parents. He wasn’t supposed to arrive until Jan. 14, but showed up instead at 2:22 a.m. Friday, becoming the first baby of 2010 born in Manatee or Sarasota county.

When Jake goes home from Manatee Memorial Hospital, his parents, Shandi and Kevin Austin, will be able to introduce him to his two older siblings, a brother, Andrew, 5, and a sister, Gracie, nearly 2.

Asked when she thought she might have a New Year’s Day baby, Shandi Austin replied, “About 11 p.m.”

The staff at the Family BirthPlace at the hospital gathered around the parents and the healthy, sleeping baby at about 11 a.m. Friday, and presented them with a cart full of gifts.

The Austin family has lived in Bradenton for three years, moving here from Michigan. Shandi is a New York Giants football fan who works in the bakery at the Holmes Beach Publix. Her husband, Kevin, is a Dallas Cowboys fan who works at Natural Stone in Palmetto. The Austins’ middle child, Gracie, also was born at Manatee Memorial.

Katie Powers, Manatee Memorial’s lactation consultant and perinatal educator, said the Family BirthPlace typically delivers about 2,000 babies a year. Dr. Jose Matta of West Coast OB/GYN had the honor of delivering Jake.

The Austins said they are happy with the size of their family. “Boy, girl, boy, perfect,” said Shandi Austin.

“Unless we hit the lottery,” added Kevin Austin.

Among local businesses contributing gifts to the family were the Chiles Restaurant Group, Crowder’s Gifts and Gadgets, Keeton’s Office Supply, Manatee Memorial Hospital, the Neonatal ICU staff, the hospital foundation and auxiliary gift shop, Prime Outlets Ellenton and Publix-Westgate Store.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital delivered its first baby of the New Year, exactly one hour after Jake’s arrival, at 3:22 a.m. The Sarasota baby, Darius Martin Simpson, also was a healthy baby boy, weighing 7 pounds, 3 ounces.

Darius’ parents, Paige Simpson and Victor Rengel, came to the hospital about 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve after his mother began having contractions, a week ahead of her expected delivery date.

“At 12 (midnight), I can remember looking at the clock and saying, ‘Oh man, there goes our tax deduction,’ ” said Simpson, 24, of Sarasota, according to a Sarasota Memorial press release.

“But I’m so happy. It’s been very exciting having the New Year’s baby.”

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.