By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN and MIKE BRASSFIELD
After six hours in labor, Brandy Mills was exhausted. She wanted to stop pushing, to rest just a little. But there wasn't time.
Beads of sweat formed on her forehead. She looked at her boyfriend. The midwife. The nurse. Then she looked at the clock on the wall.
"It's midnight," the nurse said. "Push harder!"
The 21-year-old pushed like she had never pushed before. Three minutes of pushing. Finally.
At 12:03 a.m. Tuesday, the Tampa Bay area's first baby of the new year arrived at Tampa General Hospital.
Unlike the celebratory screams up and down the East Coast, this New Year Baby didn't make a peep. Not until they placed his naked body on the cold scale.
Boy, did the 7-pound 6-ounce infant wail.
Mills and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Michael Trinidad Ayala, are first-time parents. They named their son Adrian Miguel Trinidad.
"He's perfect, he's beautiful, he's just a little angel," Mills said. "I'm just overwhelmed."
Mills, a child-care worker, hadn't given the First Baby race much thought. Adrian wasn't even due until Thursday.
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But that all changed when she felt pains Monday afternoon. Once it became clear that she was in labor, the race began, Mills said.
"I asked the nurse what time it was like every five minutes," she said.
Just before midnight, she had been pushing for 10 straight minutes. She was tired but didn't stop.
When the clock struck midnight and the baby still wasn't out, she wondered, "Are we still in it?"
Not only is Adrian the Tampa Bay area's first baby of 2002, he's undoubtedly one of the first in Florida.
"I don't know how it stacks up statewide," said TGH spokesman John Dunn. "But we're right in the running."
Pinellas County's first baby of the new year arrived nearly 45 minutes later, and a month early.
But late on New Year's Eve, she started having contractions -- 15 minutes apart at first, then faster and faster. Dabbs made it to Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater shortly before 12:30 a.m.
"I barely got here in time," Dabbs said later. "Before I knew it, I was pushing."
At 12:46 a.m., she gave birth to a healthy 6-pound girl named Chloe, the second daughter for Dabbs and her fiance, Shawn Zumbrun. Chloe's 4-year-old sister, Celeste, was born on the Fourth of July.
Pasco County's first baby of 2002, Lexis Alyn Bolles, was born under tense circumstances at 12:10 a.m. when doctors, worried about her fluctuating heartbeat, performed an emergency Caesarian section.
Citrus County's first baby of the year followed at 4:40 a.m. The boy has no name yet because his mother expected a girl.
Baby New Year in Hernando County wasn't born until 11 a.m. Her mother, Miriam Smith, has had a year that found her at times homeless, jobless and alone. Smith had simple wishes as she cradled her newborn daughter, Quatasia:
"I want her to be happy . . . to just live."
- Staff writers Ryan Davis, Jorge Sanchez and Jeffrey S. Solochek contributed to this report.
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