County’s first baby of 2008 sees light 

When Kate Karriker-Jaffe’s obstetrician predicted a New Year’s Day baby, the Burlingame resident considered the odds and laughed it off.

Due datesare approximations, after all, and the chances of having the first birth in San Mateo County in 2008 seemed about as likely as purchasing a winning lottery ticket.

"We joked about it with our friends, but we never thought it would be true," Karriker-Jaffe said.

But Stella Kristina Jaffe had other plans, arriving in the world at approximately 1 a.m. on New Year’s Day at Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame. She is the first child for Karriker-Jaffe and her husband, Chris Jaffe, both of whom are 36.

Stella, who weighed 7 pounds and measured 19 inches, made her grand entrance following a proper buildup of fanfare.

At 7 a.m. on Dec. 31, Karriker-Jaffe went into labor. By 8 p.m., conditions escalated dramatically and the strength of the contractions had caught the couple by surprise. Karriker-Jaffe called her doula — an assistant who attends to the physical and emotional needs of women during childbirth.

When the doula arrived at 9:30 p.m., however, Karriker-Jaffe was so far along, it was impossible to transport her to the car.

The family called 911.

"We ended up coming to the hospital in style, with an ambulance and paramedics," she said.

With her 1 a.m. entrance into the world, Stella easily nabbed the title of San Mateo County’s first baby of 2008 from another girl, who arrived at 2:36 a.m. at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City.

Stella, who has spent most of her time sleeping, is taking her sudden fame in stride.

"She’s not a big fan of the flash photography, but is otherwise very photogenic and relatively calm," Karriker-Jaffe said.

Karriker-Jaffe said she expects she and Stella will be released from the hospital by Thursday. They will return home to Burlingame, where Karriker-Jaffe and her husband moved six months ago.

Despite Stella’s newfound notoriety, the distinction of being the Bay Area’s first baby of 2008 belongs to Tania Guadalupe Banuelos. The 7-pound, 2-ounce girl was born at 12:04 a.m. at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa to Adela and Alfredo Banuelos.

Tania shares a birthday with her 27-year-old mother, according to hospital officials. Adela Banuelos was born Jan. 1, 1981, said a registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa.

In San Francisco, a 5-pound, 10-ounce baby born at California Pacific Medical Center at 1:12 a.m. was The City’s first baby of 2008. Zoe Kagan Waitkus, born to Susan Kagan, 36, and her 35-year-old husband, Matt Waitkus, held out from her Dec. 28 due date to be born on New Year’s.

"She was fashionably late, like her mother is usually," Matt Waitkus said.

tbarak@examiner.com  bwinegarner@examiner.com  

Wire services contributed to this report.

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