Elizabeth, the daughter of Thomas and Humberto Lopez, earned the distinct honor of being the first baby born in 2013 at Fort Scott's Mercy Hospital. Elizabeth was delivered by Caesarean section at 8:14 a.m. Thursday to Thomas and Lopez, both Fort Scott Community College students.
Thomas was informed by staff at Mercy Hospital that Elizabeth was going to be the New Year's baby before her procedure began.
"I was so happy; it was awesome," Thomas said of the news. "I had to have a C-section. She was actually due on the ninth, but we took her on the third. I thought she was actually going to be a Christmas baby, because I dropped a lot when I was pregnant with her. I never expected her to be the first New Year's Baby, because there were so many of us pregnant. It was a big surprise."
Elizabeth joins sisters Kaylee and Baileigh into the Thomas/Lopez family.
"Both her sisters are very excited for her to be here also," Thomas said.
Elizabeth is the first grandchild on Lopez's side of the family and the fourth on Thomas'.
She is the maternal granddaughter of Melissa and Marty Garrett, of Kincaid, and the paternal granddaughter of Jesus Garcia, of Prescott, and Guadalupe Corrales, of Long Beach, Calif.
"We are very happy to have her. She's my first one, and until I get out of school, the only one," laughed Lopez.
"She was a planned baby. We were very excited when we found out we were pregnant with her," Thomas said. "She pretty much has brought our family closer together and we are finally complete with her in our lives. We just didn't expect her to be so cute."
Baby Elizabeth and the couple will be the recipient of numerous gifts collected by local radio station KOMB-FM and KMDO-AM, donated from about 20 businesses in Fort Scott.
"The radio station really does a good job of working with local businesses to create quite a package," Mercy Regional Marketing/Communication Manager and Director of Philanthropy Tina Rockhold said.
Rockhold said it took a little longer this year to finally have a New Year's baby arrive, but several were born closer to Christmas. She said Mercy delivers about 300 infants a year.
All signs point to a thriving baby Elizabeth for the young couple.
"She's healthy," Thomas said. "She's perfect."
As for mom, who hours earlier underwent her third birth by C-section?
"I am a little sore," Thomas said. "But I'm good. It went really smoothly."
Thomas is in the general studies program at FSCC and hopes to enter the dentistry program at Pittsburg State University in the fall.
Lopez is studying criminal justice at FSCC and also hopes to attend PSU in August.