By Paul Daquilante • Staff Writer • 

First baby of 2014 arrives a week early

A birth at 11:55 New Year’s Eve was followed at 2:32 a.m. New Year’s Day by the birth of Zachary James Ketchum. Son of Milton and Amber Ketchum, he weighed in at 6 pounds, 4 ounces.

The Ketchums were still celebrating his birth Thursday morning in their Birthing Center room. The couple’s other child, 5-year-old Leah, was taking care of her baby brother, holding him close to her on a bed.

“She’s going to be a big help,” her dad said.

Milton is a sophomore at Linfield College, majoring in exercise science. Amber is a teacher who has been substituting around the Willamette Valley.

They are a military family, as Milton belongs to an Air Force Reserve unit and Amber to an Air National Guard unit. They are stationed in Portland.

After the Ketchums welcomed their son, two more New Year’s Day births followed, according to RN Allison Drew.

She said it’s not unusual for there to be three births in one day at the hospital. “We do that quite often,” she said.

Amber’s due date was next Tuesday. She and Milton arrived at the hospital just four hours before Zachary’s emergence.

“I wanted to wait until I was sure it was going to happen,” said Amber, who indicated she was more than ready. “I was hoping it would happen in 2013,” she said.

Milton said he and his wife wanted to express their thanks to the Birthing Center staff for how well Zachary and their family had been treated during their hospital stay. A gift basket presented to them by the hospital sat near a bed.

Providence Newberg Medical Center also recorded its first birth of 2014 on New Year’s Day. However, the parents requested no information be released, according to hospital representative Mike Antrim.


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