ARLINGTON -- Necoe Crow had been in labor nearly 12 hours and was having contractions every two minutes when she came to Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital before 7 p.m. on New Year's Eve.
So Crow never expected her labor to last 51/2 more hours -- just long enough to make her son, Jake, the first New Year's 2011 baby born in Tarrant County.
"In the midst of pushing, I heard someone say, 'It's 12 o'clock,' but I wasn't really focusing on that," recalled the 37-year-old Arlington mother, looking surprisingly refreshed as she cradled her 8-pound, 5.7-ounce son in her arms Saturday afternoon.
"There are so many people having babies, someone can beat you, but it was us," she said.
Jake Crow's 12:07 a.m. arrival edged out Jan. 1 deliveries in other Tarrant County hospitals by minutes or hours.
Following close on Jake's heels were babies at two other hospitals in the Texas Health system -- 12:15 a.m. at Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth and 12:19 a.m. at Harris Methodist Hospital Southwest, spokeswoman Reace Alvarenga Smith said.
John Peter Smith Hospital, which delivers the most babies in Tarrant County and frequently has the year's first, had its first arrival at 5:20 a.m., a spokeswoman said.
For Necoe and Stanton Crow, Jake was their second miracle baby. Three years ago, after trying unsuccessfully to conceive, the couple adopted a baby from Vietnam. They named him Jett -- a name chosen by actor John Travolta several years before.
"I thought that was a cool name, so we named our son that," said Stanton, 41.
Still believing that Necoe couldn't conceive, the couple were trying to adopt a second child -- this time from Ethiopia -- when the Ethiopian court system changed the rules. Instead of requiring one parent to make one trip to arrange the adoption, the new rules required both parents to make two trips before taking custody of a baby.
"I own my own business so it's hard to leave," Stanton said. "We decided it wasn't going to work out."
One month later, Necoe found out she was pregnant. The couple, now married 11 years, were delighted. Jett was also excited although "the novelty wore off after nine months," his mother said.
The Crows hadn't planned to learn their baby's gender until he was born. But their doctor didn't know that.
"I was having my 13-week sonogram when the doctor blurted out, 'There he is.' So we knew it was a boy," Necoe said.
That gave the couple more time to settle on a first name starting with J to match his older brother's.
As for the timing of his birth, Necoe said her first surprise was that her son came on his due date. "They tell me that doesn't happen very [often]," she said. "They were going to induce me on Tuesday if he didn't come by then."
Her second surprise was that the labor lasted so long. She said her labor started about 7 a.m. Friday. Because she lives only five minutes from the hospital, however, her doctor told her to stay home until she was having contractions two minutes apart for an hour.
When the Crows got to the hospital, the medical staff told the couple her labor was progressing so quickly that the baby would likely be born that evening. After she received an epidural anesthetic, however, her labor apparently slowed, she said.
Stanton acknowledged that he was too squeamish to be in the birthing room, so Necoe's mother stayed with her.
Necoe was back in her regular room within two hours, she said. The first thing she did once she was able, she said, was to snap her son's picture and post it on her Facebook page.
"It used to be you had a whole list of people to call," she said. "Nowadays, you just post it online."
Fifteen hours after her son arrived -- and after only two hours of sleep-- the new parents were posing for photos and telling their story to reporters.
Necoe Crow said that her brother, who is an accountant, noted that the couple could have had an additional 2010 tax deduction if Jake had been born eight minutes earlier.
"But that's OK," she said. "We'll take the New Year's baby."
Martha Deller, 817-390-7857