3 generations welcome Lake Forest’s first baby
Katie McCarty holds her daughter Emmelynn Grace, who was the first baby born at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital in 2013. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 8, 2013 9:56PM
LAKE FOREST — Three generations of women gathered in a post-partum room Wednesday morning to welcome the family’s newest arrival — Emmelynn Grace McCarty of Antioch — the first baby born in 2013 at Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital.
Wearing a pink headband, tiny gray-and-white dress and socks that looked like fancy black shoes, Emmelynn lay snugly in her mother’s arms as Katie McCarty laughed and joked with her mom, Sharon McCarty of Antioch, and grandmother, Rita Mahan of Woodstock.
While it was the first time the four generations were together, it certainly won’t be the last.
“We’re really a close family,” said Mahan, the baby’s great-grandmother. “We just take care of everybody.”
Having the first baby of the new year is something that never crossed Katie’s mind.
But Emmelynn, who wasn’t due until Jan. 3, had other plans, interrupting New Year’s Eve dinner at a restaurant.
“We just got the salad and the soup,” said Sharon McCarty, Emmelynn’s grandmother. “I’m like, ‘come on, dinner,’” after Katie told her she thought it was time. “We got the dinners packed up and went home.”
That was about 7 p.m., almost four hours after Katie had started feeling the first stirrings of labor.
Once the contractions progressed to three minutes apart, the McCartys headed to the hospital, arriving in Lake Forest at about 9:30 p.m.
The going was slow for the next several hours, with true progress not beginning until 1 a.m. Claiming the “New Year’s Baby” honor still hadn’t occurred to Katie or her mom.
“Closer to 2 or 2:30 a.m., the nurses said, ‘Hey, by the way, nobody else has had their baby yet,’” Katie recalled.
That’s when competition heated up as another mom in full labor with her fifth child was admitted.
“She was ready to go,” Katie said, recalling that the nurses started encouraging her to push harder.
First baby Emmelynn arrived at 4:01 a.m. weighing in at 6 pounds, 15 ounces and measuring 20 inches long.
Grandma Sharon, who decided to be called “Nana,” said they didn’t know Emmelynn was the first baby until two hours later.
“We’re all excited about it. We get to celebrate her birthday on New Year’s every year, and everyone will be around for it,” Sharon said.
“Grammy” Rita described her first great-grandchild as “beautiful.
“It’s wonderful having a new little baby in the family again,” she said. “We haven’t had a baby for 13 years. Everybody likes babies.”