MANATEE -- Bradenton women gave birth to the first babies of 2011 in both Manatee and Sarasota counties.
At Manatee Memorial Hospital, Leah Marie Sheehan, the 7-pound, 10-ounce daughter of Rachel and Aaron Sheehan, made her appearance at 12:33 a.m.
Rachel Sheehan said she could hear the New Year’s fireworks outside during the final stages of her labor.
“It’s kind of exciting, we didn’t know if we would have the last baby of 2010, or the first baby of 2011,” she said as she held her baby girl Saturday.
Also in the room were her husband, who has the same red hair as his daughter; his mother, Theresa Sheehan; his grandmother, Pat Russell; and his brother, Andrew.
Theresa Sheehan said Leah Marie is the third generation of her family to be born at Manatee Memorial.
“She’s been a good baby so far. We have all good babies,” Theresa Sheehan said of her first granddaughter. She is also grandmother to two boys.
Rachel and Aaron Sheehan each have four siblings.
“They will have lots of aunts and uncles and cousins,” Theresa Sheehan said of her grandchildren.
Fourteen miles to the south, a 7-pound, 5-ounce baby girl, Sanaa Brewer, entered the world at Sarasota Memorial Hospital at 12:10 a.m.
Her mother, Wislaine Clerveau, was cleaning her Bradenton home about 4:30 p.m., getting ready for a quiet New Year’s Eve, when she went into labor.
“I’m really shocked … I wasn’t expecting a New Year’s baby,” Clerveau said in a Sarasota Memorial press release. “I guess this means she’ll want to act like a star when she gets older.”
Sanaa’s expected arrival date was Jan. 22.
“I could tell from listening to some of the nurses that there were a lot of women in labor … there was definitely excitement in the air … but I wasn’t really paying attention to the time. I was concentrating too much on just giving birth,” Clerveau said in the press release.
Doctors were kept busy delivering babies at both hospitals.
Katie Powers of Manatee Memorial said the hospital delivered three babies before 2 a.m.
Sarasota Memorial delivered 14 babies on New Year’s Eve, twice as many as normal.
Contributing to the Sarasota Memorial’s busy night were North Port residents Charlotte and Nick Barkley. They had triplets.
The triplets, born within a 3-minute span, included Stella, 4 pounds 4 ounces, born at 8:16 a.m.; her identical twin, Maisy, 2 pounds, born at 8:17 a.m.; and their brother, Maddon, 4 pounds, born at 8:18 a.m. The twins were delivered by c-section.
Nurses at Sarasota Memorial gave both families New Year’s baskets with non-alcoholic champagne, baby gifts and supplies .
At Manatee Memorial, Powers presented the Sheehan family with a variety of gifts from local businesses.
Births at both hospitals were down this past year, following a nationwide trend.
At Manatee Memorial, births were down from 2,143 in 2009 to an estimated 2,080. At Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, the number of births declined from 879 to approximately 713, according to figures supplied by Betty Chambliss, director of advertising and community events.
At Sarasota Memorial, births declined from approximately 3,500 in 2009 to about 3,000 in 2010, spokeswoman Kim Savage said.
James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.