Kokomo — Jenna L’rae Bontrager arrived one day later than expected, but was born early enough Sunday to be the first baby of Howard County in 2011.
Jenna was born at 8:04 a.m. at Howard Regional Health System, the second child of Tim, 33, and Joann, 29, Bontrager. She weighed 8 pounds, 8 ounces at birth and was 21 inches long.
“She arrived a day late,” Joann Bontrager said. “I was due on Jan. 1. I was a little anxious. I was ready to get it over with.”
Jenna was born 45 minutes after the couple arrived at the hospital.
“I didn’t think I would be the first new mom,” Joann said. “I assumed somebody else would have a baby on Jan. 1”
Tim Bontrager said Jenna arrived quickly and that his wife was only in labor for approximately three hours.
“She didn’t feel that many contractions,” he said. “Finally, she told me we’d better go.”
“It’s very exciting,” Tim continued. “It’s a blessing. Everyone is healthy.”
The Bontragers met in Haiti, where both were doing missions work. Joann had been in Haiti for two years and Tim for 18 months.
They married in 2006 and returned to Howard County, where Tim farms about 700 acres with a brother.
The couple said they thought of friends a year ago when Haiti was struck by a devastating earthquake. Tim returned to the country two weeks after the disaster.
Joann said Jenna was just a name the couple liked. They didn’t name their daughter after anyone.
Maternal grandparents Henry and Dora Beachy received the call on Sunday that their seventh grandchild was born and made the trip from Ohio.
“We figured any minute we would be getting the call,” Henry Beachy said.
Joann said the couple would like to have more children in the future. They have a 2-year-old son, Vaughn.
Paternal grandparents are Lavon and Gladys Bontrager.
At 11:25 a.m. Sunday the first baby of the new year was born at St. Joseph Hospital to Galveston residents Rae Ellen Fording, 19, and Casey Thompson, 20.
Weylon Ray William Thompson arrived almost three weeks ahead of schedule. His due date was Jan. 22. He weighed 8 pounds, 12 ounces at birth and was 21 inches long.
Fording said she was in labor longer than 19 hours before the birth of her son.
“I’m real glad it’s over,” she said. “I went in labor on Friday, but they sent me home. I came back on Saturday and was having contractions for 48 hours.”
Thompson was able to witness the birth of his son.
“I don’t think I ever saw his eyes get so big before,” Fording laughed.
“I didn’t think I would be the first. There was another woman who came in and they were inducing her,” she said. “I figured she would beat me.”
Thompson said it was exciting and feels good to have a son, adding the main thing is both mother and child are healthy.
He said the two have been together for two years. The couple met at a gas station, and Thompson said it was “love at first sight.”
Thompson works at the Bob Evans restaurant in Kokomo. Fording plans to return to college in the near future.
The couple picked the name Weylon because it was unique and not a lot of people have it.
The maternal grandparents are Kim Baker, Galveston, and Tim Fording, Kokomo. The paternal grandparents are Stephanie Means and Charles William Thompson, both of Kokomo.