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Norcross, Dacula women have first babies of the year

SNELLVILLE - Celebrating a new year is one thing, but celebrating a new life is even sweeter.

Hong Nguyen of Norcross laughed when talking about the birth of her fifth child, Dillon, who was one of the first babies of 2006.

"Happy New Year," the Vietnamese woman said and pointed to her sleeping infant. "He's a holiday baby."

Nguyen spent a peaceful New Year's Day in Emory Eastside Hospital while her husband, Le Vinh, went home to take care of the couple's older children, two girls and two boys, the oldest of whom is 12.

Dillon was born at 3:17 a.m. and weighed in at 8 pounds, 8.9 ounces. He is 20 inches long.

Gwinnett Medical Center actually delivered the first Gwinnett baby of 2006 at 2:40 a.m., but the family declined publicity according to privacy laws.

Next in line at the Lawrenceville hospital was Justin Mathew Thomas.

He wasn't due for another week, but mom Shawn Thomas went into labor about 5 a.m. on New Year's Eve.

As the clock struck midnight, Thomas and her husband, Marlin, were walking the halls of the hospital to try to get her labor to progress quicker.

At 3:38 a.m., Justin arrived, "with a full head of hair," his mom said.

The baby was born by emergency cesarean. He is 5 pounds, 6 ounces and 18 inches long.

His mother, a teacher at Mason Elementary, had planned to spend the first week of the new year at school, but her students will be without her when school goes back into session today.

But the Dacula woman said she wouldn't spend 2006 any other way.

"It's the best way to start it," Thomas said.