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As the final day of 2019 ticked away, Karen and Bryan Orenchuk, of Black Mountain, found themselves at Mission Hospital in Asheville early the morning of Dec. 31. Because Karen’s labor had started about 11 a.m., they were sure their daughter’s birthday would be that day; but instead she became the first baby of not only the year, but of the new decade at Mission Hospital.

Lilly Hope Orenchuk was born at 12:46 a.m. on Jan. 1, weighing in at 7 pounds 5 ounces, 20 inches long. Mom and dad were surprised as she wasn’t due to arrive until Jan. 9, but “she came when she wanted,” said Karen.

Also a bit of a surprise was the gender reveal several months ago. Expecting a boy, when it was revealed it was a girl, the Orenchuks' 4-year-old daughter, Aria Grace, had a king-size fit, saying through tears, “no pink!” She ultimately was fine with a little sister and is the one who came up with the name Lilly. The Orenchuks also have a 3-year-old daughter, Ivory Faith.

“With this being our third baby, everyone thought she would come quickly,” said Karen who experienced little pain with this birth and was surprised how long she was in labor. The long wait, however, made Lilly the first baby at Mission for 2020.

A 'first baby' tradition

Carrying on a tradition since she had the year's first birth, the mother of 2014's first baby brought gifts and a card for baby 2020, something that touched the Orenchuks.

Additionally, one of the nurses made a footprint keepsake for Lilly to commemorate her birth.

Bryan said he thinks it’s fitting that his new daughter’s middle name is Hope, “A new decade, a new year – there is reason to hope.”

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