by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — This year, grandmother Betty Beecher, Royal Center, finally got her wish — a New Year’s baby.
Her newest grandson, Hugo James Cooper, became Logansport’s first baby of 2014 as physician Dr. Jessica McClintock delivered him at 7:55 a.m. New Year’s Day at Logansport Memorial Hospital.
Beecher, whose daughter Li Cooper is Hugo’s mother, said she’d tried to have the New Year’s baby herself when she was younger, but none of her three children quite made it.
“I wished for that so much,” Beecher said.
Hugo was one of two babies born Wednesday and one of five that were born by midday Thursday. Some other women were in labor, according to obstetrics nurse manager Laura Gallahan. Gallahan. Each had asked if they would have the New Year’s baby, Gallahan said.
Hugo, a hefty 11-pound, 2-ounce boy, surprised his parents when the attending nurse handed him to mother Li Cooper.
“We had no idea he was going to be so large,” Li Cooper said.
Her husband agreed.
“I think we’re still a little in shock, in awe, at his size,” Billy Cooper said.
The baby had two older brothers excited to meet him just before lunchtime New Year’s Day. Big brothers Jack, 8, and Elliott, 5, could hardly contain their energy when they visited the new baby again Thursday with Beecher and two other grandparents.
Li and husband Billy Cooper, who’ve been married 13 years, said they’d expected Hugo to arrive sometime during Christmas and had arranged not to travel to visit family for that week.
“Santa got a hold of us and came two days early,” Billy Cooper said, so the family would be prepared for Hugo’s Christmas Eve due date.
Instead, the boys celebrated Christmas three times over with various family members. Hugo didn’t arrive until eight days past his due date.
The couple just wrapped up a busy Christmas season with their business, Lanedale Pottery in Royal Center.
Li and Billy Cooper said since they were already raising two boys, they didn’t expect their third to bring any more surprises after his outsized birth. However, their faces said otherwise when they walked into the hospital room containing a mass of gifts donated by a host of local businesses to give to the New Year’s baby’s family.
This year, 35 area businesses donated gifts, gift cards and certificates for services to the family.
“It’s more than I ever expected or imagined,” Li Cooper said, looking at the child’s wagon overflowing with other gifts.
But it’s been typical of the generosity of area merchants over the last few years, Gallahan said.
“They’re very supportive of the hospital and of the New Year’s baby,” she said.
Gifts for the New Year's baby The following are among the gifts the Coopers received from local businesses: Infant cross necklace Lube, oil and filter change Baby supplies and books Bottled water Carhartt onesie Car seat Playpen Diapers and diaper wipes Infant carrier Front end alignment Infant swaddle Wagon Photo session package Teddy bears Apple joice Haircut and blow dry Knitted booties and air fresheners Floral arrangements Certificates for free meals Gift cards