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Kitts Hill family has New Year's baby

New Year's baby
Jan. 01, 2013 @ 11:04 PM

HUNTINGTON -- In a family full of girls, the New Year's Day birth of Eric Johnothan Gillenwater gave his parents many reasons to be excited.

The 7-pound, 10-ounce baby boy made a quick arrival at 10:46 a.m. Tuesday, marking Huntington's first birth of 2013. He measured 20 inches in length.

Ginger Gillenwater, 32, of Kitts Hill, Ohio, woke with contractions at 5 a.m. Tuesday, started timing them with an iPhone, and by 7 a.m. determined it was time. She and husband, Joe, dropped off their daughters with family and arrived at Cabell Huntington Hospital shortly after 9 a.m.

Eric arrived soon thereafter -- so quickly his mother didn't have time for an epidural. Her anticipated due date was Jan. 9.

"Incredible," she said in describing Tuesday morning. "Out of all of our children, this was definitely the most surprising and incredible experience since he came so fast."

The idea of a New Year's birth had crossed the parents' mind, but neither believed it would happen despite many predictions from family and friends.

"We don't usually win anything," said Joe Gillenwater, 33. "We're just ordinary, plain old regular people. This is out of the norm for us."

But the significance of Eric's birth is much larger than the uniqueness of his birthday.

He becomes the first son to carry the Gillenwater name since his father was born more than three decades ago. He also represents the first grandson out of four children for Ginger's parents.

The couple marked that significance in naming their son. The first name honors his great uncle, Eric Lambert, who passed away from childhood cancer at age 11. The middle name, Johnothan, is a combination of his grandfather John Gillenwater, great-grandfather Otha Gillenwater and great-great-grandfather Newton Gillenwater.

"He's a very big deal to us," Joe said.

At the family's Kitts Hill home, Eric will be little brother to the couple's two daughters, Kaleigh, 3, and Amelia, 17-and-a-half months.

Kaleigh, awake with her mother about 7 a.m., was among the first to know her brother was on his way.

"I told her, 'Go get Daddy out of bed, Eric is coming,' and she did," Ginger said. "Really, I didn't think it would end up taking off so quickly."

The couple first met in high school through mutual friends. They were classmates at times in college, and then Joe asked Ginger for a date in February 2000. They married two-and-a-half years later in August 2002.

Now they have three children. Ginger said Eric would be their last.

Cabell Huntington Hospital marked the occasion with a special gift basket for the Gillenwater family.

Elsewhere, no New Year's Day births had been reported at St. Mary's Medical Center as of 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

King's Daughters Medical Center received its first birth of the year at 4:26 a.m. Tuesday. The 5-pound, 9-ounce baby boy to parents Jessica and Cody Tolliver was named Colton Andrew Tolliver. He measured 19.5 inches in length. He is the couple's first child, according to hospital spokesman Tom Dearing.

Charleston recorded its first birth at 5 a.m. at Charleston Area Medical Center's Women and Children's Hospital, according to hospital officials.

Follow Curtis Johnson via Twitter @curtisjohnsonHD and http://facebook.com/curtisjohnsonHD.

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