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New Years baby just one of thousands born at Emanuel
Emanuel nurses Cindy Akers and Nancy Lawrence lounge near a baby scale used to analyze the health of their newest patient. - photo by Brooke Borba

When New Year’s Eve comes to mind, most adults think solely of drinking, partying, and upcoming resolutions; but for the members of the Mary Stuart Rogers Birthing Center at the Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock, New Year’s  Eve is just as special as any other day.

Director of Maternal Health Programs Roberta Walker is firm in her belief that all babies are exceptional. Though there is a general excitement for Baby New Year, Walker said that no matter what day of the year, each birth is unique.

“The community and hospital look at New Year’s Eve as a special time to have a baby, but in our department, we work 24/7 every day of the year. Whether it is New Year’s Eve or July 1 what this staff does is recognize that this mom is having this baby this moment,” Walker said.  “There is nothing more special than a baby fresh from God.”

Although Surgical Tech Traci Locke also believes there is no great distinction between Baby New Year and the other births she’s assisted in, she noticed that there is a feeling of contest between some parents.

“You do get a little bit of that feeling when you are here on New Year’s Eve. You get a couple of babies that are kind of close to the date. There is usually a joke shared on the floor; sometimes we will get moms that say they want to get up and go for a walk to get their birth going. The dads take the coaching to a whole new level,” Locke joked. “It is usually a lot of fun.”

There will be no partying for Locke this New Year’s Eve. Her time has, and will, be devoted to the community to ensure happy, healthy babies.

Locke is most excited that with the New Year comes a greater excitement for their new technological services.

“We just got new monitors this past year and we are getting the other half of them this year. It enables us to keep a better idea on baby. It has just been so helpful with the nurses,” she said.

The Birthing Center has eight specially designed labor-delivery recovery rooms that décor resembles more of a home than a hospital. The medical equipment and instruments are hidden discretely behind cabinet doors, while a high-tech birthing bed and complimentary bed for support persons are provided.

“We at Emanuel feel very passionate about our facility in general. We are just like family,” said  Nancy Lawrence, a nurse and employee at Emanuel for roughly 26 years.

Lawrence has had the personal opportunity to not only birth one generation of families, but two. As a result, she finds that with another new year comes stronger relationships that help establish the community.

 “We look forward to the New Year. I am sure the changes are going to be good ones. I am just excited and we are waiting for all those babies to come in. They will have excellent care.”

For more information about Emanuel Medical Center’s Birthing Center, call 667-4200, or visit

209 Staff reporter