A week-and-a-half after the first newborn of 2019 was delivered in Skiff Medical Center, the baby girl of Megan and Bret Rhodes was just beginning to wake from her two-hour nap.
Cradled in mom’s arms, Rilee Rae Rhodes’ tiny hands slowly curled upward toward her clasped eyelids, perhaps trying to wipe the sleep from her eyes. She did not fuss. She did not cry. But she did fall back to sleep, much to the chagrin of her mother who was trying to maintain a routine for her first newborn child.
“It’s time to wake up, monkey,” Megan said, gently plucking her index finger in the palm of Rilee’s hand.
Just as soon as she was awake, it was time for another nap for little Rilee. Not so much for mother Megan. Although the first-time mother was exhausted, she was all smiles when rocking her baby daughter back and forth inside her Grinnell home. Perfectly tucked away in her arms, Megan would often look upon Rilee with a big grin, kiss her brow and tell her how much she is loved.
“She’s a very spoiled little girl,” Megan said with a laugh Thursday afternoon. “Everybody loves her. They’re like, ‘Oh she’s so cute!’ All my friends are spoiling her, all my co-workers are spoiling her ... But she’s a really good baby.”
Weighing 7 pounds, 10 ounces and measuring 21 inches long at birth, Rilee was delivered by obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) Dr. Darryl Johnson at 12:27 p.m. Jan. 1 at Skiff Medical Center. The Rhodes’ daughter was the first baby to be born at the Newton-based hospital in 2019.
After the family was discharged from the hospital and sent home, Megan said the first night with no help from nursery staff was difficult. Rilee was awake from about midnight to 5 a.m., meaning the couple rarely found any sleep. Luckily, the two were able to tag team responsibilities.
“She loves her daddy,” Megan said. “So, if I’m stressed out, he just takes her and they just sit there and rock and it’s just very cute.”
Initially expecting a Jan. 2 or Jan. 5 birth date, the couple prepared to enter the delivery room later than what doctors predicted.
“Don’t expect her to come on time,” the doctors told the Rhodes family.
Knowing they were days away from labor, the couple did not schedule any New Year’s Eve plans. About a half hour before midnight, Megan said her water broke while the two were at home. They arrived at Skiff Medical Center around midnight. Twelve hours of labor later, Rilee was born.
Megan and her husband didn’t plan to have Rilee born a couple days sooner than anticipated.
“But I’m glad she arrived early,” Megan said before looking down at a tuckered out Rilee, “because you were kickin’ momma and you had no room, huh?”
That wasn’t the only time their doctors’ predictions just slightly missed the mark. Originally, they had told Megan her newborn daughter would likely weigh between 8 or 9 pounds, judging by her ultrasound. Megan said she was not expecting Rilee to be born as small as she was, but figured it made sense since both she and her husband were born weighing somewhere between 7 pounds, 8 ounces and 7 pounds, 9 ounces.
“It wasn’t like we were big either, but my husband is six feet tall,” Megan said. “I wasn’t expecting a tiny baby. I think she’s pretty normal sized. She’s not too big. She’s not too small. Juuust right!”
Now, if only she didn’t have her days and nights mixed up, maybe mom and dad can finally get some sleep. For now, Megan and Bret will make due. Megan said she is excited to see Rillee grow.
“Everyone says she looks like me, but, of course, I see my husband a lot in her. She sleeps with her hands in her face like he does,” she said. “She does the cutest things. But I’m most excited to see how her personality is and what she wants to do.”
Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or email@example.com