Aaron Groves and Summer Franklin waited a long time for their new baby girl to arrive.
When Juniper Lynn Marie Groves finally was born early Tuesday, she became East Baton Rouge Parish’s first baby delivered in 2013.
Franklin said she went into labor sometime after 8 a.m. on New Year’s Eve.
Juniper didn’t arrive until 1:21 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
“It’s been a long road to get here,” Groves said.
If anything, Juniper was late by about a week. She was due Christmas Day, her mother said.
Franklin said she was scheduled for another doctor visit Jan. 3.
“I expected to make it to the third,” she said.
Franklin said the fact that she is a parent hadn’t quite sunk in yet, even with all the attention she was receiving for having the first baby born in Baton Rouge in 2013.
“It’s kind of weird,” she said. “It’s not quite real.”
In addition to being Baton Rouge’s first newborn of the year, Juniper is also the first New Year’s baby born at Woman’s Hospital’s new location.
Woman’s Hospital moved in August from its old location at Airline Highway and Goodwood Boulevard to its new campus about five miles south on Airline Highway near Stumberg Lane.
Woman’s Hospital usually delivers about 8,000 babies a year, hospital spokeswoman Dana Michell said.
As it does with every child, Woman’s Hospital gave Juniper’s parents a basket full of baby care gifts.
As well as a lot of love and attention.
“There were a bunch of people in the delivery room last night,” Franklin said.
Juniper is the first child for Groves and Franklin, who have been dating for two years and are engaged but have known each other since they were about 6 or 7 years old.
Groves said he and Franklin chose the name Juniper because it is unique.
“She mentioned it one day, and we both liked it,” he said.
Juniper came in weighing 8 pounds, 1 ounce and measuring 22 inches long.
Aside from a couple of sneezes, Juniper was quiet as her mother held her Tuesday afternoon.
“Even when she cries, it’s cute,” Franklin said.
When Juniper arrives back home in Denham Springs, she’ll be taken into a room full of monsters waiting for her.
Her parents, who are horror enthusiasts, said her room is already is full of monster memorabilia, including a Frankenstein-themed blanket.
They’re “cute monsters,” according to her dad.
Juniper also was wearing a tiny cap with a skull on it Tuesday afternoon.
“She’s not going to be scared of anything,” Franklin said.
A year ago on New Year’s Eve, Groves and Franklin invited a group of friends over for a party. They were “sitting on the couch at home,” Groves said.
“It’s a little bit different (this time around),” Franklin said.
“Still a bunch of people, though,” Groves replied.
Juniper’s parents said they’ll tell their daughter when she’s older about how she was the first born baby in Baton Rouge in 2013.
“Yeah, you were famous pretty much instantly,” Franklin said while looking at her daughter.
As far as what Juniper becomes when she grows up, her parents said they’re OK with her becoming anything she wants.
“As long as she’s happy,” Groves said.
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