Sullivan County Democrat
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Democrat Photo by Jeanne Sager

ERIN SMITH, LEFT, holds her new daughter, Mariel Ann Rodriguez, while aunt and godmother Emily Friedman and Emily’s son Jared (Mariel’s cousin) enjoy a moment with the duo.

Area Welcomes
Two First Babies

In Sullivan:

By Jeanne Sager
HARRIS — January 6, 2003 – Mariel Ann Rodriguez couldn’t wait to start the new year.
The first daughter for Erin Smith and husband Stephen Rodriguez burst into the world at 7:08 a.m. on January 1, making her the first baby of the new year born at Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris.
According to doctors, Smith wasn’t expected to deliver until January 11, making Mariel Ann 10 days early.
But even after 11 hours of labor, Smith was just happy to have her little girl in her arms.
The Monticello couple already has a son, Erik, who celebrated his first birthday in November.
Now they have a daughter to round out the family.
“I feel so very blessed,” Smith said. “But this is it for us – two is enough!”
Smith, who is the daughter of Ann and Brian Smith of Livingston Manor, was at a relative’s house in Roscoe Wednesday evening when she started to feel the pains of labor around 8 p.m.
Shortly after midnight, she went into the maternity ward at Catskill Regional to be checked out.
They sent her home to her house in Coopers Corners, near the hospital.
But when Smith got home and lay down in bed, her water broke, sending her scurrying back into the hospital.
Her daughter came just 7 hours later, weighing in at 5 pounds, 13 ounces, 18 1/2 inches long.
Smith wasn’t expecting to deliver this early, and she certainly wasn’t expecting all the hoopla that surrounds the first baby of the new year.
“She certainly shocked me,” she said with a laugh.
But the Rodriguez and Smith families were looking forward to welcoming their newest member.
“She’s the princess of the family,” explained Mariel’s godmother and Stephen’s sister Emily Friedman of Kauneonga Lake.
The first girl born in the Rodriguez family, Mariel will be the center of attention for a long time.
According to Smith, she already has her daddy, a self-employed contractor, wrapped around her little baby fingers.
“His son already has him wrapped around his finger too,” she said. “He couldn’t be happier to have her.”
Mariel’s proud grandparents include not just the Smiths but Rose Hernandez of Kauneonga Lake and Victor Rodriguez of the Bronx.
She went home Saturday, with mom anxious to see Erik and unite the whole family.

In Wayne:

HONESDALE, PA — January 6, 2003 – Sarah Mae Schalck made her grand entrance into the world at 2:49 a.m., January 2, becoming the first baby to be born in 2004 at Wayne Memorial Hospital in Honesdale, Pa.
The daughter of Jennifer and Ronald Schalck Jr. of Narrowsburg, Sarah weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces.
As first baby of the New Year, the Schalcks were presented with a basket full of blankets, bibs and other baby items donated by a Brownie Troop from Waymart and the New Beginnings staff.
Former Wayne Memorial employee Jennifer Schalck, a registered nurse, was assisted in her delivery by Patricia Konzman, C.N.M., a nurse midwife with Women’s Health Care of N.E. P.A., P.C.
Schalck was nervous when at 36 weeks pregnant it looked as if there would be no one at WMH to deliver her baby due to the malpractice insurance crisis forcing area obstetricians out of the business.
She was very relieved when the last-minute passing of the new state budget allowed Women’s Health Care to continue delivering babies at Wayne Memorial Hospital.
The Schalcks’ 19-month-old daughter Emily was born at Wayne Memorial, and Schalck said she wanted to have her second child at WMH.

Contributed Photo

MARY LOU EIMERS, R.N. (center) and Luanne Weidner, C.N.A., stand behind Jennifer Schalck and her new baby Sarah Mae after presenting a gift basket to the two of them.

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