Parents begin 2007 with twins
Published: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 1, 2007 at 11:06 p.m.
A year from now the Garcia family is planning to celebrate Jan. 1 with a pair of pi–atas. The Garcias, originally from Puerto Rico and now living in Interlachen, became the parents of the first — and the second — baby born in Alachua County in 2007.
Nathaniel Omar Garcia arrived at 2:14 a.m. weighing 2 pounds and 3 ounces. He was followed a minute later by his ever-so-slightly heavier sister. Nikaesha Marie Garcia weighed 2 pounds and 14 ounces.
The babies' mother, Maria Garcia-Rivera, 33, said she went into premature labor a week earlier and spent several days at Shands at the University of Florida, but was sent home Friday. Garcia-Rivera and her husband, Ramon Garcia, 39, were back at the hospital on Saturday. Early New Year's Day, doctors decided they could not wait any longer, so the twins were delivered by Caesarian section six weeks premature.
Among those caring for the tiny babies on Monday was neonatologist Dr. Willa Drummond, a pioneer in developing techniques to help preemies survive and thrive. Since the mid 1970s, Drummond has been both participant and eyewitness to what she calls an "absolutely awesome change" in how the smallest babies are assisted until they can function on their own outside an intensive-care unit.
"Twins tend to come early. We cannot make them grow up any faster," Drummond said. "But the chances for these two are now about the same for a near-term baby" to grow up into healthy children.
Drummond and others working in the neonatal intensive-care unit said premature babies often stay at the hospital until about their normal due date, which means Nathaniel and Nikaesha might be heading home around Valentines Day.
Whenever they arrive in Interlachen, the tiny duo will be welcomed home by the three older Garcia siblings; sisters Amanda, 15, and Mariangely, 12, and by Jose, who is 9 and thrilled to no longer be the baby of the family.
"He is so happy to have a little brother," said Ramon Garcia.
Garcia-Rivera and Garcia moved to Interlachen from Puerto Rico about 16 years ago and both work at Hatchett Creek Farms. The couple said twins have previously been born in both their families, so they were not shocked to find they were expecting two babies instead of one. "Next year we will have a big party — dinner and all our family and friends," Garcia said.
Karen Voyles can be reached at 486-5058 or voylesk@gville sun.com
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