The Memorial Hospital’s 1st 2010 baby born on Jan. 5 | CraigDailyPress.com

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The Memorial Hospital’s 1st 2010 baby born on Jan. 5

If there was a race to be the first baby born in 2010 at The Memorial Hospital, no one knew about it except Hannah Poole.

Three weeks before her mother, Beth, expected her to arrive, Hannah made it clear she was ready to greet the world.

"It was kind of scary," Beth Poole said. "It was a different experience than I had with the boys. I wasn't quite ready, but I guess my body was. I just thought, 'Oh, OK, she is ready.'"

Just before 2 a.m. Jan. 5, Beth Poole gave birth to her and husband Brian's first daughter, and the first baby of 2010 at TMH.

On Friday afternoon, Hannah's parents coddled her while Beth Poole's family helped watch, Jaden, 4, who is Beth Poole's first son, and 2-year-old Andrew, who is Brian Poole's first child with Beth.

Brian Poole, who missed Andrew's birth, said being there for his daughter's birth was an experience he'll never forget.

"We waited a long time, and it was well worth it," he said. "It was a really great experience. All the doctors and nurses were wonderful and really informed me on anything. It was really exciting, anxious."

Excited to finally have another female in the house, Beth Poole said she is looking forward to doing Hannah's hair and piercing her ears.

Both parents expect her to be a girly girl, and her personality already was beginning to show as she peered at her parents shyly from underneath a light green flowery headband.

Beth Poole said she was thrilled to be holding her new baby and going through the process of raising an infant again.

"They just kind of explore you," she said as she gazed down at Hannah, who was lazily waving her arms. "It's a lot different than them just talking back to you."

For the hospital, Hannah was the first birth of what will be an estimated 150 deliveries in 2010.

In 2009, the number of deliveries increased 35 percent during 2008, jumping from 82 to 111 births.

As a part of its 2010 business plan, TMH hopes to increase the number of births another 18 percent.

Part of the plan to increase market share in births included adding a new OB/GYN, Dr. K.C. Keating, who began work in July.

Beth Poole was one of Keating's patients.

"I had the best doctor in the world," Beth Poole said. "I just remember being like, 'Where's my doctor, I need her,' and she was there for me."

Hannah is Beth Poole's third, and most likely last, child.

The fact that she is her first girl and the first baby born at TMH is an added bonus, Beth Poole said.

While Jaden and Andrew are growing up into school age, Brian Poole said he wasn't sure he'd be able to handle letting Hannah go off to preschool when the day comes.

"She's my princess," Brian Poole said. "She couldn't be more perfect. We get to start a new year with a new baby."