Cydney Shaum and her husband Taylor Dustin smiled a weary smile at their 6 pound 5 ounce baby girl, Emmie Jean Dustin. It was the couple’s first child and the first baby born in 2018.

Emmie was born in Flagstaff Medical Center at 12:35 a.m. on New Year’s Day, after 12 hours of what Shaum called “relatively painless labor.”

The couple started to believe they would have a New Year’s Day baby around 11:15 p.m. on Sunday night.

“It was definitely on our mind that we could have a New Year’s baby. We thought a Jan. 1, 2018 birthday sounded better than Jan. 6,” Dustin said referring to Emmie’s expected birthday.

Dustin said he and the nurses on staff tried to guess the times the baby would be born.

“No one guessed midnight,” Dustin said with a smile.

The couple was thrilled when they learned they had a baby girl because both parents decided not to know the gender until the baby was born.

“It was hard for me not to know, but I am glad we didn’t know the gender. We couldn’t be happier to have a baby girl.”

Dustin said not knowing their new daughter’s gender made her birth even more special.

“I have always loved surprises and I couldn’t think of a better surprise than this,” Dustin said.

Emmie’s father was even there to catch his daughter and be the first person to usher her into the world.

“Catching my daughter as she was born was a once in a lifetime experience,” Dustin said. “I couldn’t be happier.”

The couple looked at their sleeping baby with excitement as they talked about her features and looked forward to little quirks they may discover as they get to know Emmie.

“She has little dimples on her cheeks,” Shaum said. “We are still getting to know her and I can’t wait to learn other things about her.”

Emmie's birth in Flagstaff makes her a fifth-generation Flagstaff resident and her mother said she couldn’t think of a better place to raise a child.

“I was born in Flagstaff and I think this is an amazing place to start our family,”

Shaum said that they were excited to bring their child into the world at the start of 2018, despite many of their friends choosing not to have kids right now.

“I think having a baby in 2018 can be overwhelming for a lot of people,” Shaum said. “Some of our friends and family have decided to wait to have kids because they don’t feel comfortable with the current climate. We are excited though and ready to start our family.”

As Shaum looked at her baby she reflected on the future. “I have a lot of fears but I try not to dwell on them,” Shaum said. “We are trying not to dwell on them though and just look toward the future.”

One other baby was born at Flagstaff Medical Center on New Year's Day.

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