Sebastian is 2020’s Baby #1 at Sanford Worthington Medical Center

First baby waited until Jan. 3 to arrive

Aura Gabriel Lopez lovingly cradled her son, Sebastian, a few hours after he arrived. Sebastian was the first baby born in 2020 at Sanford Worthington Medical Center. (Jane Turpin Moore/The Globe)

WORTHINGTON — While some adults were eager to plunge into a fresh decade, local babies-to-be weren’t quite as quick to leap into the 2020 milieu.

Nevertheless, on the third day of this new year at 6:56 a.m., Sebastian Gabriel Lopez was the first baby born at Sanford Worthington Medical Center in 2020.

“But there were three babies born here on New Year’s Eve,” said Mary Huls, an experienced labor and delivery R.N. in Sanford’s local Women’s Center. She observed there’s no predicting the ebb and flow of births.

“And when my niece Mallory [Van Grouw] was the first baby born here in 1988, she arrived on Jan. 3, too.”

In any case, little Sebastian — the son of Aura Gabriel Lopez, 24, of Worthington — was in fact a bit ahead of his time. His mother’s actual due date was Jan. 16.


Looking rosy and healthy, the five-pound, 11-ounce bundle was relaxing comfortably with his mother in their hospital room mere hours after his arrival.

“I’m happy with him,” said the beaming Lopez, who has two older children currently living with her mother in her homeland of Guatemala.

“It makes me feel kind of special that he is the first baby of the new year here.”

When Sebastian decided it was time to make his entrance, he didn’t fool around. Lopez began experiencing labor pains at 3 a.m., reached the hospital at 6:30 a.m. — and a mere 26 minutes later, Sebastian was on the scene.

Speedy delivery, indeed.

“I just was focused on having the baby,” said Lopez, adding it wasn’t until after Sebastian had safely emerged under the guidance of Katie Smidt, CNM, that she learned he had earned the rights to the “first baby” distinction.

Lopez, a Worthington resident for just over a year, said Sebastian’s father is regrettably out of the picture but she intends to raise her first son on her own. She is currently living with her sister and is determined that as soon as she is able, she will return to work to support herself and her precious new child.

A bonus for first babies comes in the form of a bountiful gift basket from Sanford Worthington Medical Center. It brimmed with helpful products for the Lopez family; items such as onesies, bibs, wipes, booties, a blanket and the ever-necessary diapers were included.


“And it’s all packaged in a functional tote that parents can use at home,” said Jena Versteeg, Sanford’s OB/GYN nursing manager.

“We get everything in neutral colors [light greens and yellows] because we never know if it will be a boy or a girl.”

But Lopez knew from prenatal ultrasounds that she was expecting a son, and she was happily anticipating his arrival.

“Everyone has been very nice,” said Lopez of her hospital experience.

“They are very gentle and friendly and offer good advice.”

Lopez also said she is grateful for the support of those who are helping her as she prepares to introduce her newborn to the snowy winter world.

“I like snow a lot,” she said. “I’m ready for a winter baby.”

What To Read Next
“Why would we create new major programs, when we can’t even fund the programs that we have?” a public education lobbyist said in opposition to Noem's three-year, $15 million proposal.
The North Dakota Highway Patrol investigated the Wednesday, Jan. 25, crash.
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.
“We see that when things happen in the coastal areas, a few years later, they start trending toward the Midwest,” said Rep. Ben Krohmer, serving his first term in the House.