Perhaps Noemi Cervantes Ceja knows something about 2021 the rest of us don’t quite yet.
Noemi, the first baby to be born in Napa County in 2021, arrived at Queen of the Valley Medical Center on Jan. 1 at 4:53 a.m., almost seven weeks early, according to her mother, Napa resident Rebeca Ceja. She must have been too excited about the year ahead to wait, Ceja agreed.
“She just wanted to come out,” Ceja said.
Noemi, who was born at 33 weeks, came out “crying and with mature lungs,” according to Dr. Dushyant Oza, director of newborn services at Queen of the Valley Medical Center. She is breathing comfortably with the help of a small CPAP machine, Dr. Oza said, and is expected to be out of the NICU in two to three weeks.
Queen of the Valley is able to care for infants as young as 32 weeks, according to Dr. Daniel Hersh, Noemi’s delivering physician. (Dr. Hersh has also delivered two of Ceja’s three other children, he noted.)
“We had a very good outcome,” he said of the birth. “And (Noemi) didn’t have to get transported to San Francisco for care.”
Ceja, who has three other children — including a soon-to-be 1-year-old, Noemi’s Irish twin, who was born at 34 weeks — said Noemi’s siblings are excited to meet her. Ceja and her husband, Noemi’s father Julio Cervantes, are taking shifts visiting Noemi in the NICU and taking care of their other children, Ceja said.
Ceja was admitted to the hospital on New Year’s Eve, she said. It was a little stressful, she said. Precautions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 meant she couldn’t have a “support person,” her husband, by her side until the actual delivery, but ultimately things went smoothly.
“I was shocked — I honestly didn’t think Noemi was going to come (that morning),” Ceja said. Nurses told her there was another patient going into labor, too, and joked it would be something of a race between the two women to see whose child would be the first born in Napa County in the new year.
They brought her a cup of sparkling apple cider just before midnight on New Year’s Eve, Ceja added.
After Noemi was born, the hospital gave Ceja and Cervantes a “humongous” gift basket, according to Ceja — something the hospital’s Obstetrics Unit gives to the parents of the first child born each year.
“Each of the nurses contributed a little something to it, and that was so appreciated,” Ceja said. “They said to me: After everything you’ve been through, it’s well deserved. Little things like that make such a difference.”
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Sarah Klearman’s most memorable Napa Valley Register stories of 2020
Sarah Klearman's most memorable Napa Valley Register stories of 2020
On a Sunday in mid-March of this year, I stood watching as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the coronavirus had arrived in California - and that the state would soon shut down to prevent its spread. He began listing impacted businesses and industries; the moment I heard 'wineries,' I knew I was on the clock.
It feels now like that press conference, held just before the nation plunged deep into lockdown, was a clear demarcation of 'before' and 'after.' In both my professional and personal life, I've sometimes struggled to come to terms with just how much has changed this year, and with how much has been lost: 300,000 dead from the coronavirus in the United States. So many small businesses seem to be facing extinction. It's enough to make my head spin, and that's not even touching upon the wildfires that ravaged Napa County this year.
So I've been making sense of everything that's happened to our community through my work at the Register, because my reporting this year has been all about listening. I've lent my ear to anyone who will talk to me: folks made homeless by the wildfires; communities, including the valley's agricultural workforce, disproportionately impacted by the virus; business owners and their employees who rightfully fear for their future. This list - my top five stories of this year - is all about them.
Twin economic crises - the pandemic and the wildfires - threaten the housing security of a substantial number of renters in Napa County. More than a third have asked for help.
Low wages, cramped living conditions and the fluidity of the agricultural workforce make the farm worker community particularly prone to COVID-19.
The homes at Spanish Flat Mobile Villas burned to the ground. A number of uninsured residents now have no where else to go.
Tasting room closures and restaurant cutbacks have sent a shock through the valley's workforce.
Catch up on Napa County’s top news stories
Catch up on Napa County's top news stories
In case you missed it, here is a look at the most-read stories on NapaValleyRegister.com.
When Bobby Solis opened Pancha's in 1982, the bar was one of many. It outlived its competition, survived fires, floods and earthquakes. Now it…
One of American Canyon's niches in Napa County's wine world is providing room for refrigerated wine warehouses, with another on the way.
The Napa school district explores options for closing a middle school campus and possibly shifting its dual-language immersion program.
In true millennial style Napa Valley resident Sarita Lopez writes books, has her own cactus water company and is part of the leadership of Nap…
Want to live in downtown Napa? These new homes in the city center range from $779,000 to $1.6 million.
At age 21, St. Helena High School graduate Cristian Maldonado has launched his own catering business, earned a real estate license, and wants …
Set to open officially at the end of March, the restaurant is now serving hotel guests and others who drop in during a soft opening phase for …
Chris Lemley, a high school dropout, found the support and encouragement to succeed at Napa Valley College.
A community of homeless Napans are living in RVs and other vehicles in a parking lot in North Napa. What's going on?
You can reach Sarah Klearman at (707) 256-2213 or firstname.lastname@example.org.