Harlingen’s first babies of the year arrive early

HARLINGEN — Daniela Sanchez cradled her newborn son Andrew, her smiling facing glowing with the anticipation of her new life as a mother.

“I am excited for the new journey,” said Daniela, 23, who gave birth to Harlingen Medical Center’s first baby of the year, who arrived in the world at 12:39 a.m. New Year’s Day. His family greeted his arrival.

A special radiance seemed to fill the room because Andrew is the first child of Daniela and his father Alvaro Juarez, 22. Andrew also is the first grandchild of Martin Sanchez, Jr., and his wife Teresa.

It’s often said children don’t come with instructions. Raising a child can be especially challenging when parents have no experience. Certainly all sorts of questions abound. Daniela’s parents quickly voiced their support.

“It’s all good,” said Martin Sanchez, Jr. “We have four kids and all of them are good, educated. We were good with our kids, so hopefully they will do the same with this grandchild.”

Daniela’s brother, Martin III, also was excited about being an uncle, albeit a little surprised.

“I wouldn’t think she would be the first to pop one out,” he said jokingly. “But things happen. As long as she’s happy, I’m happy. She knows I have got her back.”

What’s his greatest hope for Andrew?

“That he be a Philadelphia Eagles fan,” said Martin, 24. “No Cowboys, no Patriots.”

Martin Sanchez Jr. and his wife will work together to help with their grandson.

“My wife is really good doing that,” he said. “Whatever I can’t handle she will be there supporting our baby girl (Daniela) and her husband.”

Juarez, a thin beard gracing his face, was looking forward to fatherhood.

“I hope I can be the best father,” he said.

Although Andrew was HMC’s first baby of the year, he took his time arriving here. Daniela Sanchez said she came to the hospital at about 6:30 a.m. New Year’s Eve. After about 18 hours of labor, physicians had to do an emergency C-section.

Daniela, cloaked in a green top, hoped the education she and her husband had earned would set a good example for their son. Alvaro has an associate’s degree in machining technology from Texas State Technical College.

Daniela currently is studying at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to become a physical therapist.

She looked at Andrew and smiled.

“I am still going to college,” she said. “I am not going to stop. I hope he will see the result of setting goals.”

Hailey Nicole Solis arrived a few hours later at Valley Baptist Medical Center. Her mother Roxanne Solis smiled placidly as she spoke about her daughter, her third child, who was born at 7:14 a.m.

“I just want her to be happy,” she said as Hailey, wrapped in a pink blanket and purple baby hat, slept soundly in her arms.

Transporting everyone where they needed to be required some considerable coordination. Someone needed to watch their two other daughters. Roxanne Solis needed transportation to the hospital. Her husband needed to be there for Hailey’s birth.

Fortunately, Roxanne Solis’s mother lives nearby. When the labor pains began, she called her mother who took her to the hospital just before midnight. Her husband stayed with the two children and popped off some fireworks. Once Solis was at the hospital, her mother returned and took charge of the girls and their father went to the hospital in time for Hailey’s birth.

They’d hoped for a son, but Solis was nevertheless overjoyed with Hailey’s arrival. She was looking forward to raising her. She finds motherhood very rewarding.

“I like just seeing them grow,” she said. “I like the first time they walk, the first time they talk, the first time they crawl.”

Her two other children, Elixis Jade, 3, and Allison Dee, 7, were excited about having a new sister.

“The three year old is more excited than the seven year old,” she said. “She sees YouTube to see how to change pampers.”

The two first babies of the New Year had arrived amid the joy and fanfare of grateful families, all of them looking forward to beginning a new journey with each child. It would be a journey wrought with joy and frustration, successes and disappointments, love and loss, as is the experience of every person traveling this life. Fortunately, they will have numerous relatives determined to help them along the way.