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Baby right on time for Superior couple

LeeAnn Taylor of Superior holds her son Ezekiel Daniel Ortega at the Birthplace at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Ortega was born at 2:08 a.m., becoming Essentia's first baby of 2019. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com1 / 3
Ezekiel Daniel Ortega's footprints. Ortega was born at 2:08 a.m. at the Birthplace at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth, becoming Essentia's first baby of the New Year. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com2 / 3
LeeAnn Taylor of Superior holds her son Ezekiel Daniel Ortega at the Birthplace at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center. Ezekiel was born at 2:08 a.m., becoming Essentia's first baby of the New Year. Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com3 / 3

LeeAnn Taylor's due date wasn't until Jan. 7, but proud papa Victor Ortega was predicting a New Year's baby as far back as June.

The Superior couple's third child, Ezekiel Daniel Ortega, arrived right on cue — 2:08 a.m., to be precise — to be the first baby born at Essentia Health-St. Mary's Medical Center in Duluth in 2019.

"He's going to change the world," the father predicted.

The couple was gathered with family at Taylor's grandmother's house, celebrating New Year's Eve, when they made the call to go to the hospital just a few minutes shy of midnight.

"We were just about to be celebrating, just waiting for the New Year and I was like, 'Nope, we need to go,'" Taylor recalled.

The couple missed the ball-drop on the car ride to the hospital, where they arrived at about 12:15 a.m. Ezekiel wasted little time entering the world, with the couple estimating that the entire birth process took about 20 minutes.

"She was ridiculously calm and just amazing through the whole thing," Ortega said of Taylor.

The dad was close, but not quite as accurate, with his other predictions — Ezekiel weighed 8 pounds, .03 ounces and was 20 ½ inches long.

Nearly eight hours after birth, baby Ezekiel was resting in his mother's arms in her hospital bed. The parents reported he had hardly made a peep since birth, remaining quiet as he encountered a steady stream of hospital staff, family members and media members visiting the room.

Ezekiel will join the couple's two other children — 9-year-old Nathan and 8-year-old Abbi-Rose. The couple found easy agreement on the name, which Taylor came up with while flipping through the Bible and hearing a sermon from the Book of Daniel.

Every male member of the family has a birthday on the first of the month — Victor on Feb. 1 and Nathan on June 1.

Recently, Taylor wasn't so sure the baby would wait until the appointment she had scheduled for Monday. Ortega reassured her.

"I sent her a message that said she was going to make it to her appointment and shortly after the new year he was going to be born," he said.