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Twin in Arlington among first babies born in Tarrant in 2017

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price listens as Diana Castorena’s sister Milka reads in Spanish to her new nephew Sunday at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Giovanni Alvarado was born at 8:04 a.m. on New Year’s Day. He was the first baby born at JPS in 2017.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price listens as Diana Castorena’s sister Milka reads in Spanish to her new nephew Sunday at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth. Giovanni Alvarado was born at 8:04 a.m. on New Year’s Day. He was the first baby born at JPS in 2017. Special to the Star-Telegram

Dimpled-faced Ayden was supposed to be born Jan. 16, but apparently he couldn’t wait to help usher in a new year.

Ayden Angel-Salas was born at 12:29 a.m. at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital H-E-B, putting him among the first babies born at Tarrant County hospitals in 2017. He weighed 7 pounds 4 ounces and was about 20 inches long.

The first baby born in Tarrant County appears to be a twin born at Medical City Arlington. Jordan Xavier Sanchez (5 pounds, 4 ounces) arrived at 12:12 a.m., just minutes after his twin brother, J’aiden Alexander Sanchez (6 pounds, 3 ounces), who was born at 11:46 p.m. Saturday, giving them a rare two-year split. Mom and Dad are Cassandra and Eliseo Sanchez.

First babies are identified by the Star-Telegram by an informal survey of several area hospitals, including John Peter Smith, Texas Health Resources, Baylor Scott & White, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center and Medical City Arlington.

Ayden’s mother, 18-year-old Priscilla Salas of Hurst, said she didn’t expect to celebrate a new year by having a baby. Salas and her family were having a laid-back evening when her water broke at 8:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve.

“I didn’t think he was going to be the first baby born in the hospital,” she said Sunday afternoon as the infant slept near her hospital bed. The baby’s grandmother Adriana Gonzalez doted on the sleeping infant. Ayden’s 18-month-old brother, Romeo, watched wide-eyed as reporters cooed at his little brother.

The countdown to the year’s first deliveries typically starts as soon as the clock strikes midnight. New Year babies make news when they are born seconds or minutes after the new year rings.

The first baby of 2017 at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center Fort Worth was born at 6:44 a.m. Baby girl Garcia weighed 7 pounds 7 ounces and was 20 inches long.

At John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, nurses and doctors were ready for the first baby to arrive as the clock struck midnight, but Giovanni Eliazar Alvarado took his time. He was born at 8:04 a.m. to Diana Castorena and Jose Alvarado of Fort Worth, 6 pounds 2 ounces and 19.5 inches long. One of his first presents was a book presented by Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price to launch a program that promotes reading to young children starting at birth.

“I feel very happy,” Castorena, 18, said in Spanish. “It’s so nice that people have come to visit my baby. It’s very nice when people admire a baby like this.”

Castorena said she read to her baby in Spanish and English while he was still in her womb. She plans to continue reading to Giovanni in English and Spanish so he will grow up bilingual. She said she has much hope for his future.

“I want him to succeed in school, and reading may inspire him to seek an education,” she said.

The reading initiative comes as the city, the Fort Worth school district and community leaders work to improve childhood literacy. In Fort Worth schools, only 30 percent of third-grade students are reading on grade level.

The Fort Worth Public Library Foundation, JPS Foundation, JPS Health Network and the Fort Worth Library are launching Books For Tarrant County Babies.

Price presented Giovanni the book Read to Me by Judi Moreillon, a retired associate professor from Texas Woman’s University. The family also received a library card. Every baby born at JPS in 2017 will receive the same book and card, said Leslie Oliver, president and CEO of the the Fort Worth Public Library Foundation. Children born in 2016 or 2017 will be in third grade in 2025.

“We know that children who read at third-grade level are much more likely to succeed in high school, to get a good job — to be able to go on to college,” Price said.

Diane A. Smith: 817-390-7675, @dianeasmith1

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