YOUNGSTOWN -- Dominic Francis O'Brien was not the first baby born in the Mahoning Valley in 2002, but he had one of the hardest trips to get here.
Dominic, the son of Trumbull County Commissioner Michael O'Brien and his wife, Lou Ann, was delivered by Caesarean section seven weeks early, after Lou Ann had two seizures in her bed at Forum Health Trumbull Memorial Hospital.
She had been hospitalized since the Friday before New Year's Day for kidney stones. Blood tests also showed the onset of toxemia, a poisonous blood condition, and Lou Ann, 40, already had medical problems.
Four years ago, she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a condition that causes chronic and sometimes debilitating muscle pain and frequently disturbs her sleep.
What happened: Over the weekend, Lou Ann was taken by ambulance from Trumbull Memorial to St. Elizabeth Health Center, where she and Michael watched New Year's Eve fireworks from a hospital window.
Blood tests showed her condition was worsening. On New Year's Day, her obstetrician -- a specialist in difficult pregnancies -- telephoned her hospital room.
"The doctor called and said he was going to deliver the baby in two hours," Michael said. "Lou Ann was very concerned at the prospect."
That's an understatement.
"Frightened is the word," Lou Ann said.
O'Brien has two children from his previous marriage: Kristen, 13, and Mike, 16. But this would be Lou Ann's first delivery, long after she had given up on having a child.
"It was a miracle," she said. "Knowing now that it was going to be a difficult pregnancy, I'm glad I didn't know before."
How things turned out: Dominic arrived healthy, at 5 pounds and nearly 18 inches long, was brought by his mother's eyes for a quick peek and then whisked to the neonatal unit. He is still unable to cry because of a breathing tube, but he is now allowed visitors.
"I can't believe how beautiful he is," Lou Ann said.
Little Dominic is expected to stay in the hospital for two or three weeks, but his mother was to be discharged this weekend.