First baby of 2020 has arrived

Proud dad Maurice Wilson is all smiles as mom Shonnetta Hamm cradles Jackson Hospital's first baby of 2020, La'Noah Wilson, with midwife Jordan Miles and baby’s big sister Amyah Wilson (one of four siblings) looking on.

Delivered by a midwife at Jackson Hospital, Jackson County’s first baby of 2020 arrived before noon on Thursday, Jan. 2.

La’Noah Amour Wilson weighed in at 7 pounds, 4 ounces, and was 20 inches long at birth. She came into the world at 11:01 a.m.

She enters the world beloved by parents Shonnetta Ham and Maurice Wilson, and with four adoring half-siblings to teach and protect her through her life’s journey. The three oldest of them, a trio of girls, were there in the room for the birthing.

That unusual fact was just one of several things that made the baby’s debut unique.

Using a midwife and opting for a natural birth gave the family more flexibility in several ways. Their delivery room was not the usual minimalist setting. Instead, it had a lamp and couches, decorative items on the wall, and a rocking chair to give it a home-like feel. It also had a “birthing ball” that mom used to relax the pelvic array and help make the journey less stressful for the baby.

That was important to Hamm, as was the opportunity for her old-enough youngsters to be part of the process. Having the girls and the baby’s father close was of paramount importance to her, and she’d prepared the youngsters ahead of time with videos, talks and by other educational means for what would happen.

As she had decided this was to be her last child, Hamm wanted the experience to be as full as possible — labor had been induced in her first three deliveries. She opted out of an epidural pain killer, toward that purpose. She endured several hours of active labor. It started around 2 a.m. that morning.

She said her midwife, Jordan Miles, did all the right things. She let the children draw close when they wanted. She provided soothing encouragement and assurance when mom didn’t think she could make one more push through the pain.

“When I was telling her ‘I can’t do it anymore, the pain is too much,’ she kept encouraging me,” Hamm said. “She worked with me all the way. From the start, when I told her my goals, she was all in for them. She was just very good.”

She delayed the cutting of the cord (carried out by the baby’s father) and of the baby’s weighing, in order for the family to have immediate and important physical bonding. The girls were surrounding as the parents held their new baby to their chests, and were among the first to touch her.

Her big brother is La’Bron Hayes. Her big sisters are Ja’Niyah and Amiyah Hayes, and Amyah Wilson. With two sisters having such similar names, they’ll help the baby sort that and many other things out as she takes her place in the family.

“Everybody’s happy,” said dad Maurice Wilson on Thursday.

That includes extended family members like Hamm’s mother and father, Sharon Hamm and Michael Hamm, and her maternal grandmother, 82-year-old Dorothy Groomes, the mother of 11 children. The family also includes dad’s mom, Caretha Smith. His father, James Wilson, did not live to see the birth of this grandchild, but his uncle, Grady Johnson, will have a place of honor. He taught his nephew all he knows about being a mechanic, and is still a key player in his life. An employee at Mowrey Elevator, Maurice also works some at his uncle’s garage.

As for mom, while nurturing her little ones is her primary focus at home, caring for the elderly is her focus on the job — she works at the Chipola Nursing Pavilion.

She grew up in Jackson County from the age of 10 or so, the family having relocated from North Carolina, and is a graduate of Marianna High School. She relocated to Cottondale about four years ago. Wilson grew up in the Sneads/Grand Ridge area, played sports for the schools in those towns as a teen, and is a native of Jackson County.

The family will be going home with a “first baby” gift basket, courtesy of Jackson Hospital and partners in the gifting.

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