New Year's delivery

By Shelby Schroeder

Couple’s first child doubles as Valley’s first ’09 baby

Mahoning’s first baby of 2009 brought a few surprises for his parents.

Only blocks away from the site of Youngstown’s New Year’s ball drop to ring in the new year, one city woman was celebrating her own new beginning: motherhood.

Not long after the fireworks and countdown to 2009 had ended, 23-year-old Deborah Owrey came to the end of more than 19 hours of labor in her hospital room at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Partner Adam Swauger was by her side the entire time, and the two are now the proud parents of a brown-haired boy named after his father.

Adam Swauger Jr.’s birth at 1:43 a.m. made him the area’s first baby of the new year — an added surprise for his parents, who didn’t expect either the Jan. 1 birth or the attention it received.

“I didn’t think it was that big of a deal,” said a resting Owrey, who added that the two received gifts from the hospital and a few early-morning visits by television news crews.

At Owrey’s feet, on a vinyl couch facing his girlfriend, Swauger agreed that the attention was surreal. Swauger, though, had predicted the New Year’s birth, Owrey said.

“He’s been saying for the last 8 1‚Ñ2 or 9 months that the baby was going to be born on Jan. 1,” she said.

The baby’s actual due date was Dec. 28, but when he refused to be born, Owrey’s doctor suggested induced labor. At 7 a.m. Wednesday, the parents-to-be prepared for the arrival of their child.

Not until the next day would they be the most surprised, however.

Having avoided learning the baby’s gender for the better part of nine months, the two were crossing their fingers for a little girl. But instead of a Hailey Nicole, they were given Adam Jr. They can accommodate the small detail, though.

“We’ve bought things [decorated] with animals,” Owrey said.

“A lot of yellows, greens and whites,” Swauger said.

The new parents won’t get to dress Adam in his teeny clothes yet, however, since the 8-pound 8-ounce newborn is being held for a few days in the hospital’s Special Care Nursery, an intensive care unit for infants. Doctors will monitor his progress while a small amount of fluid clears from his lungs.

Until then, Adam Jr.’s parents must trek from the other side of the seventh floor for their first bonding moments with the baby. The nurses caring for Adam said the temporary condition is relatively common and that he is doing well.

Owrey and Swauger are comforted by that but can’t wait to get him home.

“I just want to hold him,” Owrey said to a nurse. “I haven’t been able to pick him up yet, and I want to so bad.”

Even though having Youngstown’s first baby of 2009 may not have elicited excitement from the parents, Owrey said the high of Adam’s birth was above all the crowning moment of their year.

“We can’t wait to find a place together and start our family,” she said.

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