Alachua County's first baby of 2003 couldn't wait for trip to hospital

Published: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 2, 2003 at 2:16 a.m.
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Proud parents Sandy Phillips and Johnny McDonald hold their new baby girl, Anna Marie McDonald, who was the first area baby born in the new year.

ROB C. WITZEL/The Gainesville Sun


First baby of new year

  • BABY: Anna Marie McDonald.
  • BORN: 1:37 a.m. New Year's Day.
  • WEIGHT: 6 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • PARENTS: Sandy Phillips and Johnny McDonald.
    "You'd think it would be scary, but it wasn't. It was kind of comforting to be at home."

  • She was born on New Year's Day. But even if her birthday weren't a holiday, little Anna Marie McDonald would have quite a story to tell.
    Alachua County's first baby of 2003 was born at home - though her parents never planned it that way.
    "All my babies have come along pretty fast," said Sandy Phillips, 28, who gave birth to a 6-pound, 8-ounce girl at her home in the Varsity Villas mobile home park on NW 39th Avenue at 1:37 a.m. Wednesday.
    Phillips and her longtime boyfriend, Santa Fe Community College student Johnny McDonald, 32, weren't expecting to deliver on New Year's Day. In fact, they weren't quite sure when their baby was due. Early in the pregnancy, their doctor had told them to expect a child on Dec. 17 - but a later sonogram showed that date to be off by as much as three weeks.
    But when Phillips started feeling telltale pains late Tuesday night, she thought she might be going into labor. And after a long soak in the bathtub, she was sure she was ready to go to the hospital.
    She didn't even make it to the door. "He (Johnny) said, 'Let's go,' and I said, 'We're not going anywhere, the head's already coming out,' " Phillips said.
    McDonald called for an ambulance, and paramedics arrived just in time to deliver the baby. Phillips said the labor took between 15 and 30 minutes.
    "You'd think it would be scary, but it wasn't," Phillips said. "It was kind of comforting to be at home."
    Anna Marie is the couple's third child. They have a 2-year-old, Johnny Jr., and a 1-year old, Madison. Phillips says she has never experienced much pain during labor - and never spent much time in labor. "I've never asked for drugs," she said. "It happens so fast, I don't really have a chance anyway."
    Phillips spent New Year's Day recuperating at Shands at Alachua General Hospital. Officials at all the area hospitals keep a close eye on mothers-to-be who come in on New Year's Eve, hoping to claim bragging rights for delivering the year's first baby.
    Parents, on the other hand, tend to hope for a Dec. 31 birth date - and the tax exemption that goes with it.
    Johnny McDonald says the thought of a tax exemption never crossed his mind, though he expects the in-home delivery will save the family a couple of thousand dollars in medical bills.
    "I never thought about the taxes," he said. "I'm just glad everything came out all right."
    For the paramedics who delivered Anna Marie McDonald, the delivery was apparently just another day on the job.
    "All I can tell you is that they ended their shift at 8 in the morning and went home," said Andy Carlisle, district chief for Alachua County Fire Rescue. "And now they aren't answering phone calls. They're probably asleep."
    Carlisle said delivering babies is "not an uncommon experience" for paramedics.
    "I can't give you statistics, but I know it happens fairly often," he said.
    Tim Lockette can be reached at 374-5088 or lockett@
    Continued from 1B Paramedics help deliver baby at home

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