Finally, some good news.
The first child born along the Wasatch Front in the state's Olympiad year also is a first for her parents.
At five pounds and 13 ounces, 19 1/2 inches long, Layla Spencer is the first female in the Spencer family — and welcome news round the hospital circuit.
"I've been here for 10 years, and this is the first time we've had the first New Year's baby," said a labor and delivery nurse in the maternity ward at Davis Hospital and Medical Center in Layton where Layla was born at 12:07 a.m. Tuesday.
It was news welcomed elsewhere. "This is what we need to start the new year, to start the new year on a good note, good news for a change considering the past year," agreed LDS Hospital spokesman Jeff Allred.
Layla's birth came as an unexpectedly early surprise and delighted her new brothers, ages 2 and 3. She was not due until Jan. 18, said her mother, Jennifer Spencer of Salt Lake City. "I've been in preterm labor and on bed rest for the past three weeks . . . so it feels like I won the lottery.
"I've never been the first at anything, especially never the first in all of Utah."
Because Layla was born nearly three weeks early, hospital workers decided to put her into the intensive care unit for one day just to make sure her lungs were functioning properly. "But she's doing great," her mother said. "Totally pink and pretty with dark curly hair. We expect to go home tomorrow."
There were other firsts this new year along Wasatch Front maternity wards as well.
Nathaniel Gordon Buck was the first to be born in Utah County, when he was actually expected to usher the year out with a due date of Dec. 31. But he marked a second first as well, for his parents.
The 21-inch-long boy was born at 12:10 a.m., the first born for Tarasine and Jamis Buck.
Taylee Funes came just a little early, at Timpanogos Regional Hospital in Orem. The second born in the county, she came two days early at 12:58 a.m. Tuesday. She is the third child for Tricia and Lee Funes of Orem. "She's a nice surprise," said her mother.
A very tired father of Layla said it was nice to greet the new year with relief: "With everything that's gone on in this country over the past year, it's a great way to start a new year," he said.
Added Jennifer Spencer: "It's got to be good luck, a good sign, that's what I'm thinking."