Blaine residents Lissa Clair and Shawn Leebens are the proud new parents of Danielle, who was the first baby born in the Twin Cities in 2014 at 12:19 a.m. Jan. 1 at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids.
When Lissa’s water broke while shopping at Walmart around 11 a.m. Dec. 31, being the mother of the first newborn of the New Year was the furthest thing from her mind. Lissa and Shawn are more private about their personal lives than some people. They did not immediately post baby pictures on Facebook.
But when nurses at all metro area hospitals confirmed that Danielle was the first baby born in 2014 at a Twin Cities hospital, they were more than willing to share their story with Allina Health’s public relations department and numerous reporters so the joyous occasion could be documented.
“It’s really neat now,” Lissa said. “Both of us realize this is really cool and special. It’s a great memory that we’ll be able to scrapbook from all the newspaper clippings.”
Shawn had just got home from his job at the Twin Cities Tile and Marble Company and was getting ready to go to Lifetime Fitness when Lissa called and told him to hurry to the hospital.
They did not anticipate this would happen, Lissa said. Danielle was actually not expected to be born until Jan. 12. She weighed 7 pounds, 13 ounces and was 20.75 inches long when she was born at 12:19 a.m.
Lissa and Shawn are both 38 years old and have been together for a while, according to Lissa, who also has a 14-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. She runs an in-home day care business so she will be able to stay at home with Danielle, who is Shawn’s first child.
“It was awesome,” Shawn said when asked what it felt like to look at his daughter for the first time.
Because it was his first child, Shawn said Lissa told him he could pick the name, but he was having trouble narrowing it down.
When he heard there were members of the media waiting to meet the first Twin Cities newborn of 2014, he chose his favorite eight names and drew them out of a hat until he was down to a final two and flipped a coin that decided his first daughter would be named Danielle.
They knew they would be having a girl and had her room at home painted pink, but Shawn also was surprised by all the “hoopla” that went with being the parents of the first newborn of the year, and their story being shared quickly spread the good news to family and friends who congratulated them by phone, Facebook, email and text messages.
“We’d like to thank people who shared congratulations and well wishes,” Shawn said.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org