Topeka’s first baby of 2018 arrived early on New Year’s Day and, in the process, came into the world 16 days ahead of her due date.
Natalee McPherson was born at 4:14 a.m. Monday at Stormont Vail Hospital. Her parents are Mondy and Darrell McPherson, of Overbrook.
Natalee checked in at 19 inches long and weighed 6 pounds and 13 ounces. She is the first child born to the McPhersons.
By Monday afternoon, baby Natalee was resting comfortably in her mother’s arms under her father’s watchful eyes in the warm hospital room at Stormont Vail.
“It’s quite a blessing,” said Mondy McPherson, 39, about 10 hours after giving birth. “We have tried for many, many years to have a family, and last year we kind of decided that enough was enough and that we’d take a break, and all of a sudden, boom, here we are, starting a family.
“And then to go into labor on New Year’s Eve was quite a shock. None of this was expected, but we are more than overjoyed with out little blessing.”
The baby’s due date was Jan. 17, and as late as Sunday afternoon, there was no indication she would be coming early.
“Oh, no,” Mondy said. “We thought we had another 2½ weeks left, at least.”
She said she thought that if anything, her baby would come a little after her due date, but certainly not before.
“She surprised us all and came 2½ weeks early,” said Mondy, who works in the customer service division of the state of Kansas taxation department.
The couple had gone to Topeka from Overbrook on Sunday afternoon to pick up groceries for chili that night.
The baby had been kicking several times per day — a good sign that the doctor wanted Mondy to track. But on Sunday afternoon, Mondy told her husband the baby hadn’t kicked much that day.
About five minutes after they got home after their 40-minute drive from Topeka, Mondy’s water broke.
The couple quickly got back in their vehicle and returned to Topeka to “go get checked out and make sure” everything was OK, Mondy said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
Once at Stormont Vail, the couple found they wouldn’t be going back to Overbrook until after the baby was born.
About 10 hours later, the couple’s baby girl was born.
“We’ll never forget her birthday,” Mondy said of her daughter being born on New Year’s Day. “It’s a whole new celebration.”
Mondy said she and her husband were thankful to have a healthy baby girl.
“Both of us are older parents,” she said. “The outcome could have been a lot different. Between the pregnancy and delivery and her health — we have been overly blessed.”
Mondy said she planned to go home Wednesday with her husband and child. She said she had all the cold-weather supplies and clothing her little one will need.
“She’s ready to go outdoors,” Mondy said. “Now I don’t know that the rest of us are. We’re pretty cozy in here for the next couple of days.”
Darrell McPherson, who works for the Target Distribution Center in south Topeka, said he and his wife were married in 2015, but their relationship dated back a number of years before that.
He said they had dated when they were in their 20s and were engaged to be married before calling off the wedding. They reconnected through Facebook shortly after his father, Gary McPherson, a disabled Vietnam veteran, died at age 65 in 2014. They were married the following year.
Darrell said he was thrilled to have a daughter.
“It’s just been a blessing,” he said. “It’s surreal for me. We’ve wanted this for a long time. The pregnancy, everything, it just went so well it’s almost scary at times. And here she is, healthy. We’re just really blessed — couldn’t be happier.”
Contact reporter Phil Anderson at (785) 295-1195 or @Philreports on Twitter. Like him on Facebook at facebook.com/philreports.tcj/.