There’s something Meika Rae Hunter’s mother looks forward to telling her for years to come: “The fireworks are for her birthday.”
Meika is a New Year’s Day baby, and the first baby to be born in 2018 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.
Meika arrived at 4:41 p.m. Monday, weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces, with a full head of dark hair.
Mother Roxanne Hunter, 25, of Lawrence, didn’t expect to have a New Year’s Day baby — Meika wasn’t due until Jan. 18.
“It’s pretty cool,” Hunter said. “I wasn’t expecting a baby until at least next week.”
Hunter said New Year's Day started out as a normal morning for her. But after her water broke, she went to the hospital about 11 a.m., started having contractions around 1 p.m. and delivered Meika just a few hours later.
On Tuesday, less than 24 hours old, Meika was calm, alert, wide-eyed and stretching her tiny fingers in her mother's arms in their hospital room. Hunter said she and Meika planned to go home on Wednesday.
Hunter is originally from Anchorage, Alaska. A Yup’ik tribe member, she moved to Lawrence six years ago to attend Haskell Indian Nations University.
Meika has several older siblings. She’s Hunter’s second baby, following big sister, Marley, 2. Meika’s father, Chauncey Hunter, has three other children.
Every new year, though, Meika's mother said, “we’re celebrating her.”