First local baby of new year born at Backus Hospital

Jennifer and Michael Marakovitz with their daughter Emilie Grace, Tuesday at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. Emilie Grace, 7 pounds 10 ounces and 20-inches, was the first baby of 2013 in eastern Connecticut.
Sean D. Elliot/The Day Jennifer and Michael Marakovitz with their daughter Emilie Grace, Tuesday at The William W. Backus Hospital in Norwich. Emilie Grace, 7 pounds 10 ounces and 20-inches, was the first baby of 2013 in eastern Connecticut.

Norwich — It's a question perhaps only a man or the clueless — or both — would ask.

But, no, Jennifer Marakovitz answered. After spending 24 hours in "deep labor," as it drew close to midnight on New Year's Eve in Norwich's Backus Hospital, the 36-year-old, first-time mom-to-be said she did not consider trying to prolong the process in hopes her child would be the first kiddo born in southeastern Connecticut in 2013.

As it turned out, though, when Emilie Grace Marakovitz entered the world at 1:06 a.m., she was in fact the area's inaugural New Year's baby.

Emilie Grace is 20 inches long and weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces.

"She was due Sunday, but it didn't happen," Marakovitz said from her hospital bed Tuesday afternoon as her husband, 32-year-old Michael, held the sleeping infant in a nearby chair. "The labor was long, but it actually wasn't that bad. Still, by midnight, when they decided to do a C-section, I was ready to get it over with."

Mom said she was happy but still very tired. "Even though it took a little longer, I'm not complaining. It was a good pregnancy."

Dad smiled and said, "I feel great," nodding at his wife as though to acknowledge she'd done all the work. As for the child in his arms, he said, "I don't know how to explain how great it is, and whatever they tell you in advance can't prepare you for it."

The Marakovitzes, who live in Norwich, seemed more than ready to make Emilie's first nap a top priority. A half-eaten fruit salad sat on a table across from the bed, and a meal with the cover still over the entree was untouched on the sink basin as though to suggest the parents could worry about sustenance later.

"It's only been a few hours," Michael said, "but she's definitely sleeping."

"Maybe the labor wore her out," Jennifer said.

If the Marakovitzes were perfectly happy to welcome their daughter into the world whenever It Was Time, they did say the timing of the pregnancy suggested a New Year's baby might be a possibility.

"When we found out, I think within a week we realized that it might be close to New Year's when she arrived," Jennifer said. "It's sort of fun to think she was the first one."

Rhys Victor Devers, born at 5:16 a.m. at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital to Megan and Will Devers of Groton, was the first child born in New London. He weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and is 18 inches long.

Both Backus and Lawrence & Memorial labor and delivery departments were busy Tuesday. In addition to Emilie and Rhys, respective spokesmen said two more children were due at each hospital.

r.koster@theday.com

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