BRATTLEBORO -- It's a boy!

The first baby born in the new year at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital was named Nathan. He weighed in at 7 pounds and 10 ounces.

His mother Synthia Ngaleya, 26, of Brattleboro, was visiting her friend who had her own baby on Dec. 31. Afterwards, Ngaleya had also gone to a doctor's appointment where she was told that she was going into labor.

"That was my wish," she said. "To have a New Year's baby."

Just after 7 a.m. on Jan. 1, Ngaleya's wish was granted. The doctors had previously told her the due date would be Jan. 7.

The first thought that Ngaleya could recall after giving birth was wishing her baby safety and good health.

"I didn't expect to have him today," she said. "My wishes from last year and this year were good."

When Ngaleya found out she was pregnant last year, she wished that her baby would be a boy. Then she wished that he'd be born on New Year's Day.

Ngaleya's father was born on New Year's Day 53 years ago. He called her before she knew she was going into labor.

During the interview, the family said they hadn't been able to reach him yet to tell him the news. He lives in Africa, near Cameroon.

Because Ngaleya had a cesarean section, she will need to spend more time in the hospital than she initially expected. It is likely she will stay there until Saturday.

Ngaleya's mother, Celine Merriam, said Nathan had been recovering, sleeping and crying most of his first day.


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Inside a red Christmas stocking, Merriam's first grandchild laid with a tiny hat upon his head. His eyes were closed as the flash went off from cameras documenting the first baby of 2014 born in the Brattleboro hospital.

"I'm very excited," said Merriam. "I'm just enjoying it."

The boy's name came about after a discussion between Ngaleya, her boyfriend and her brother. She had asked them what a good name would be for the baby and they all agreed on Nathan.

For nearly six years, Ngaleya has lived in Brattleboro. Her plans for this year include visiting one of her sisters in Hawaii and going back to visit family in Africa.

Her sister in Hawaii is pregnant with a due date for May 21.

"I want to go see her and support her," said Ngaleya.

Another sister, Eshalla Merriam, lives in Washington, D.C. When she heard the news, Eshalla quickly decided to travel to New England.

"(Ngaleya) told me ‘I'm going to the hospital.' And I drove all the way to Vermont," she said. "I didn't want to miss it."

It took about 12 hours for her to get to Brattleboro.

The friend who had her baby a day before Ngaleya was expected to go home on Jan. 2. Ngaleya believes their two children will spend a lot of time together.

"She's a new mom like me," Ngaleya said with a smile.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or cmays@reformer.com. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.