First north country baby of 2023 born at Samaritan Medical Center

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Jan. 2—WATERTOWN — The north country’s first baby of 2023 wasted no time arriving on the scene.

Little Julian J. Vega came into the world at 1:38 a.m. on New Year’s Day, 21 days early, after only two hours of painful labor catching first-time mother Hayley Wood-Rutten, 20, of Watertown, by surprise. He weighed in at 5 pounds, 14 ounces.

Although the baby was planned, Ms. Wood-Rutten said she “did the math not long ago” and realized that she was pregnant about 10 days before she and her boyfriend Jonathan J. Vega had decided they wanted to try to have a child together, so even conception was ahead of schedule.

On New Year’s Eve, Ms. Wood-Rutten and grandmother Linda M. Baker went to a gathering where they played games and sang karaoke. After a fun evening, Ms. Wood-Rutten said she went home, went to bed and at 11:11 p.m., her water broke.

Because she didn’t have any contractions, she called her grandmother, drove to her house and they went together to Samaritan.

“I’m excited. I always wanted to be a mom,” Ms. Wood-Rutten said on Sunday afternoon while cuddling her New Year’s Day baby with Mrs. Baker sitting in a chair by her side, “I’ve always had that maternal instinct. I just think if there was one thing I was meant to be, it’s a mom, before anything else.”

She added that it is “that unconditional love between a mom and her kid” that attracted her to motherhood and she is already feeling that deep love for Julian.

Mrs. Baker has also been by her granddaughter’s side, taking care of her and her two sisters since Ms. Wood-Rutten was 3 years old.

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