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Special celebrations in hospitals this New Year

Photo: Camie Young
Peyton Valentine Clark, the daughter of Tim Clark and Jessica Ruis, of Loganville, was the first baby born in Gwinnett in 2012. She was born at 12:46 a.m.  Sunday.

Photo: Camie Young Peyton Valentine Clark, the daughter of Tim Clark and Jessica Ruis, of Loganville, was the first baby born in Gwinnett in 2012. She was born at 12:46 a.m. Sunday.

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Special Photo Jennifer and Ryan Leo, of Suwanee, welcomed their infant daughter Scarlett Rayne at Northside Hospital just moments after the clock struck midnight New Year’s Day.

SNELLVILLE -- Tim Clark was vaguely aware of the crystal ball dropping, but Jessica Ruis had other things on her mind.

A short time after 2012 began, Ruis gave birth to the first baby born in Gwinnett in the New Year.

"In between contractions, I could hear Dick Clark counting down," Clark said of the scene in the delivery room at Eastside Medical Center in Snellville. "Everybody is singing and dancing and the doc is like, 'Push.'"

At 12:46 a.m., the Loganville couple welcomed Peyton Valentine Clark, an 8-pound, 4-ounce bundle of joy.

Ruis said the two had hoped to have a New Year's baby since they learned of Peyton's Dec. 30 due date, and the excitement grew when she contractions began at 2 a.m. New Year's eve.

But by the end of the nearly daylong labor, she only had one celebration on her mind.

"We wanted to be the first, but I all I could think about was the pain," she said, cradling her little girl, born with a full head of dark hair.

After a short stay in the neonatal intensive care unit for observation, Ruis and Clark hope to bring Peyton home today, in time to cheer on the couple's beloved Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.

"I want her to be in the bassinet beside me," Clark said.

At Gwinnett Medical Center, spokeswoman Beth Okun said the hospital had a rush in the waning hours of New Year's Eve, but after midnight, the labor and delivery unit hit "a dry spell."

That hospital's first baby of 2012 was born at 7:42 a.m.

Cezar Jose Torres, a strapping 7-pound, 11-ounce baby boy, was welcomed by parents Diana Gamaz and Francisco Torres of Lawrenceville.

In Atlanta, a Suwanee couple became the first new parents of 2012, welcoming their daughter just after the stroke of midnight.

Scarlett Rayne, the third child for Jennifer and Ryan Leo, was born at Northside Hospital. The Leos celebrated with noise makers, a press release said. And Scarlett assuredly joined in with some noise of her own.

"This was better than fireworks," Ryan said. "Every birth is special in some way, but this one is unforgettable.