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Big Island birth is state’s first bundle of joy for 2011

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    The first baby of the year in the state of Hawaii was born at 12:01 a.m. at the North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea on the Big Island. The proud parents are Kahi Brooks-Richards and Layne Richards, who have not yet decided on a name.
    Noelle Tamashiro held her newborn daughter Tehani Chiemi yesterday. She was delivered at 12:25 a.m. New Year's Day, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces at Tripler Army Medical Center.

The title of Hawaii’s first baby of 2011 goes to a little bundle born one minute after midnight at the North Hawaii Community Hospital in Waimea on the Big Island.

She weighs in at 8 pounds, 4 ounces, and her parents — Kahi Brooks-Richards and Layne Richards — are still deciding on the perfect name for her.

"We’re calling her ‘baby girl’ for now," said Brooks-Richards, 32.

She said it’s "pretty cool" to have Hawaii’s first baby cradled in her arms.

"It’s a great way to start the new year," Brooks-Richards said, adding that she didn’t know what time her daughter was born until beaming nurses told her.

The Puna resident should probably be given a pass for not watching the clock, though. She had been in labor for 20 hours when her daughter finally made an appearance. (Brooks-Richards’ daughter was due Dec. 28, she said).

The couple also have a son, 2-year-old Haweo, and say the little family is complete with its newest addition.

"That’s it," said Brooks-Richards yesterday.

Brooks-Richards’ baby was born 24 minutes before Oahu’s first baby of the year.

Tehani Chiemi, weighing 6 pounds, 13 ounces, was born at Tripler Army Medical Center, the same hospital where her mother was born 20 years ago tomorrow.

Noelle Tamashiro said her daughter’s "first baby" distinction is a novelty. Christmas, New Year’s, "either one is fine," she added, "as long as she’s here."

And though Tehani is Oahu’s first baby this year, she’s actually a little late.

She was supposed to be born on Christmas Eve.

In Tamashiro’s bright hospital room yesterday afternoon, where media representatives gathered to interview the first-time mom and her daughter, the young woman’s parents had big smiles as they talked about their new little family member — and also remembered back to their own daughter’s birth at Tripler.

Having the island’s first baby of 2011 "is special," said Tamashiro’s father, Nolan, who retired from the Air Force. Tamashiro’s mom, Sharlene, joked that the family would have been ringing in the new year a little differently if her daughter hadn’t gone into labor — by shooting off fireworks in Pearl City.


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