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    ... and a new one begins

    12:03 A.M. JAN. 1, 2002: The first baby born in Hillsborough may be among the first in Florida to greet the new year.

    By DONG-PHUONG NGUYEN, Times Staff Writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published January 2, 2002


    TAMPA -- Brandy Mills had been in labor for six hours and she was exhausted. She wanted to stop pushing, to rest just a little. But there just 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 exclaimed. "Push harder!"

    The 21-year-old pushed like she had never pushed before. Three minutes of pushing. Finally.

    At 12:03 a.m., Tampa's first baby of the new year arrived.

    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.

    Two hours after his momentous debut, Mills and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Michael Trinidad Ayala, gazed down at him.

    The first-time parents named him Adrian Miguel Trinidad. No reason, he just looked like an Adrian.

    "He's perfect, he's beautiful, he's just a little angel," Mills said Tuesday from the maternity ward at Tampa General Hospital where she cooed with her newborn. "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. But that all changed when she felt pains Monday afternoon.

    Ayala drove her to the hospital. 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 sleepy and just plain tired. But she 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 Tampa's first baby of 2002, he undoubtedly ranks up there with one of the first in the state.

    "I don't know how it stacks up statewide," said TGH spokesman John Dunn. "But we're right in the running."

    While Adrian's parents talked to reporters, his father, a restaurant cook, cradled him gently. The infant was swaddled in a yellow blanket embroidered with the words: "1st Baby 2002. TGH."

    He yawned, smiled and opened his eyes. Ayala offered a play-by-play.

    "Oh look, he just yawned."

    "He's smiiiiiiiiling."

    "Awwww, he just opened his eyes."

    The parents say they want their son to just grow up happy. Given all of the hoopla, he may already be destined for a career in the spotlight.

    "I feel so excited for him," Mills said. "Maybe he'll be a movie star one day."

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