As a previous mom with a history of short labor, Alejandra Tinoco wasn’t expecting child No. 5 to take long either. But even the veteran mom was taken by surprise with the speed in which Elijah Nicholas Tinoco came into the world in the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
Alejandra, of Hugoton, woke up at 12:20 a.m. after her water broke. She and her husband, Cris Tinoco, then sped up the highway to Centura Health – St. Catherine Hospital in Garden City, and Elijah arrived at 1:42 a.m., making him the first baby born in the new decade at the hospital.
“It’s pretty cool,” Alejandra said about delivering St. Catherine’s first baby of 2020. “I was supposed to get induced on the 2nd in Ulysses. That was my whole plan. Like if I can make it to the 2nd, I should be good.”
Elijah, who weighed in at 6 pounds, 6 ounces, had other plans.
Alejandra had been experiencing contractions earlier in the day on Tuesday, but they were about 40 minutes apart and eventually went away. She assured Cris she would be able to hold on until the following day, and the couple went to bed.
Cris said he woke up when he heard Alejandra talking on the phone with her Certified Nurse Midwife, Jayme Applebee, who told the couple it was time to head to St. Catherine.
“After like 10:30, (the contractions) went away. So, I’m like, ‘Well, let’s just go to sleep. I think I should be good.’ And then I woke up at like 12:20 because my water broke, and I’m like, ‘No, we gotta go,’” Alejandra said.
And go they did, leaving their Hugoton home at 12:25 a.m. and arriving at St. Catherine about 45 minutes later.
“I just said, ‘You’ve got to step on it. Just step on it, honey,’” Alejandra said.
How fast was Cris driving?
“The speed limit,” he said with a laugh, adding, “I was just focusing on driving. That was my main thing – drive and make sure we get there safe. I’m not going to lie, I topped it out. It was either that or having a baby in a car.”
Applebee, a Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Nurse Midwife who lives and works out of Liberal, was close behind the couple and had called ahead to the staff at St. Catherine to let them know the couple was on their way.
Just a little more than a half-hour after arriving at St. Catherine, Elijah was born.
Alejandra said labor for Elijah’s older siblings – ages 10, 8, 6 and 4 – usually was about two to two and a half hours.
“She does what she needs to do – gets it done,” Cris said with a laugh.
While the couple was racing up the highway, it turned out to be a race for the title of New Year’s baby at St. Catherine, as four other babies were delivered at the hospital on New Year’s Day. The hospital delivered 659 babies in 2019.
St. Catherine provided the couple with a gift basket filled with baby toys, supplies for Mom and baby and some special keepsakes.
“This hospital does a good job
of taking care of their patients, and they’re really helpful,” Cris said. “It’s
been a pleasure, actually, being here. They treat you right.”