NORMAL — Ryder Gilbert didn’t give his mother much of a warning early Monday that he was ready to meet the family.

His mother, Kate-Lynn Gilbert, was expecting Ryder to be born this coming Friday, but, apparently, Ryder didn’t get the message. So, Ryder showed up on New Year’s Day morning, and is apparently the first McLean County baby of 2018.

“I wasn’t thinking that he was going to come early,” Gilbert said while resting in her bed at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal Monday afternoon. “I started having some contractions around midnight and thought I had better go get checked out.”

That wasn’t as easy as it sounded, though. Gilbert lives with her grandmother in Pekin and the temperature outside was about minus 12 degrees. The wind chill was around -25 degrees.

“I didn’t even put a coat on,” Gilbert said. “I just put a pair of slippers on and grabbed a blanket.”

“It wasn’t too bad of a drive, really,” said her grandmother, Jane Gilbert. “I was kind of concerned because the contractions were starting to come faster. I thought if I have to pull over on this interstate and get help, that might be a problem.”

They arrived at the hospital about 1:30 a.m. and then, Kate-Lynn Gilbert came to the realization that she might have the first baby born in McLean County in 2018.

“I was the only one in the delivery room and so all of the nurses and doctors were there,” she said.

Ryder arrived at 5:24 a.m., weighing in at 7 pounds, 1 ounce, and measuring 19 inches.

“He’s so handsome,” said Kate-Lynn’s mother, Taunya Blair of Bloomington.

In Bloomington, the first baby born at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center was Ariyah Allen, who arrived at 11:24 a.m.

“With it being so late in the morning, I didn’t expect her to be the first baby at the hospital,” said Ariyah’s mother, Tiara Davis of Bloomington. “I was sure somebody else would beat me.”

Ariyah was due on Thursday, but like Ryder, decided that Monday was better.

“I was so grateful to everyone at the hospital that helped,” she said. “It’s a holiday and they were in the middle of a potluck, but they were all excited about the first baby of the year.”

The respective hospitals provided complimentary gift baskets to the mothers for having the distinction of first baby of the year.

A Guam couple welcomed the very first U.S. birth of the New Year — just two seconds after midnight on the U.S. island territory in the Western Pacific. Jennica Lynch and Davante Perez welcomed Logan James Lynch Perez, who was 6 pounds and 15 ounces.

The first baby born in Illinois appears to be Janae Davis, the second daughter for Jeremy Davis and Dana Brown of Oak Lawn. She arrived at 12:08 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

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Follow Kevin Barlow on Twitter: @pg_barlow


Staff Writer for The Pantagraph.