HARLINGEN — Meet Ethan.
He just wasn’t in the mood to wait around for doctors. Rather than wait and get frustrated, he made his debut into the human experience on his own.
But, New Year’s Eve was too soon. So Ethan kept his parents, Amanda and Adrian Rodriguez, up all night. He waited until the light of day spread across the New Year. It would seem that he was determined to be the first baby born in 2020 at Valley Baptist Medical Center, with the mid-morning sun welcoming him.
And so he was. Ethan James Rodriguez was born at exactly 9:52 a.m. Wednesday, weighing 6 pounds and 3 ounces. He’s the second son of his new parents.
“We’re excited, it’s been a lot of adventure so far,” said his mother Amanda, 30, who works as a speech therapist for Region One Education Service Center.
“There’s been a lot of attention and excitement,” she added with a vigorous laugh.
Ethan made a grand entrance, his arrival lauded with fireworks and joyous revelry. At first glance, it would appear that these were New Year’s celebrations, but in fact this was the celebration of Ethan’s first year.
The boy didn’t know he was supposed to be born Dec. 31 or Jan. 10. His doctors and nurses and parents all had the date in hand, but this guy was full of surprises.
“We went into labor Monday night,” Amanda said as her husband Adrian looked on with smiling pride.
“I started to feel different and I said, ‘I don’t know, I think it’s getting close,’” Amanda said. “We were going to leave the house and go to the hospital and then the contractions stopped.”
OK. Was it just a false alarm or a signal of impending joy?
“The next morning, I said, ‘If it continues, we’re going to go to the hospital just to get checked out,” she said. “At the hospital they said, ‘No, you’re in labor,’ so we stuck around.”
And they stuck around and stuck around while Ethan made careful arrangements to arrive in the delivery room in grand fashion. After all, the three of them were right next to the Emergency Room where they could hear ambulances and fireworks all night.
“We didn’t get a lot of sleep that night,” Amanda said. “All night we watched New Year’s specials on TV. It was just a waiting game and then he came in the morning.”
Visitors poured in as word of the first New Year baby’s arrival spread throughout Valley Baptist. Well wishers included Manny Vela, CEO of Valley Baptist, whose mother was Amanda’s pre-kindergarten teacher.
“He actually got to meet the baby right after I delivered,” she said. “From that moment Ethan was a little star.”
She thanked the nurses and doctors at Valley Baptist who assisted in her pregnancy. When she and Adrian learned they would have another baby, Valley Baptist was their immediate choice for delivery. After all, that’s where their first son, Joaquin Richard “J.J.” was born in February 2018.
Her immediate hope is that her two boys will get along and have a lasting friendship. One sister has a son, and her other sister plans to deliver a girl in May. Amanda’s family is filled with people in their 30s planning to have children. It appears probably that Ethan and J.J. will have lots of cousins.
“We’re happy with our family size,” Amanda said. “We hope they’ll both go to college.”
That’s what she and Adrian did. As a matter of fact, they’re high school sweethearts. He graduated from Harlingen High School South in 2006, and she graduated Harlingen High School a year later. They’d already been together for several years, but they completed college before they settled down. They’ve been married for six years.
Adrian, 31, is a sales rep for Piper Incorporated.
“I hope my sons will grow up and take care of their mom, just like me and my brothers take care of our mom,” he said.
Then, with further conviction, he added, “I want my sons to be good gentlemen in this world.”