FORT HOOD — Mother Jessica Martinez and father Brian Lee Thomas rang in the new year with more than just fireworks this year.
They celebrated the birth of their newest family member, Julian Lee Thomas — the first baby born in 2013 in the Killeen-Fort Hood area — born at 4:22 a.m. Tuesday at Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center.
As her two toddlers — Jaslene Brown, 4, and Derrian Brown, 2 — marveled at their newest sibling, Martinez said she was proud that this baby would grow up with such a memorable birthdate.
“It feels amazing,” Martinez said. “When they told me he was the first baby, I couldn’t believe it. I can’t believe it is here.”
The baby boy weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 19½ inches long.
Thomas said the experience of his child’s birth in the first hours of the new year has been a sobering reminder of this new phase in his life.
“Every other year I spent (New Year’s Eve) out partying and hanging out, whereas this year it was a little different,” Thomas said. “Children really make you re-evaluate what’s important.”
The family planned for the baby to be delivered no sooner than Thursday and so much of the family had not yet arrived, Martinez said.
“We all thought Thursday, but I guess he had other plans,” said aunt Liza Torres, who flew in Monday afternoon from North Carolina.
Thomas, 21, and Martinez, 23, met through a mutual friend, while Martinez was living in California and Thomas was in the Army.
After exchanging text messages and telephone calls, Martinez insisted Thomas visit her in California.
“I said you have to come visit me. I will buy your plane ticket,” Martinez said.
The couple married in April.
Martinez, a customer service representative at Aegis Communications Group Inc. in Killeen, said she never thought she would be a mother of three children, and that this would definitely be her last.
“I’m glad I can sleep on my side without little feet on my ribs,” Martinez said.
Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center shares the highest baby delivery rate in the country for Army hospitals with Womack Army Medical Center at Fort Bragg, N.C., Darnall hospital spokeswoman Brandy Gill said.
“We typically run neck and neck with Bragg as far as births go,” Gill said.
The hospital averages seven to eight births per day, Gill said.