NP newlyweds welcome the first baby of 2024

John Mueller,

Nicole and Andrew Thom and their new daughter, Louella Ann, are comfortable at home in New Prague. Louella was born Jan. 1, 8:10 p.m. They are winners of The New Prague Times’ first baby of 2024 contest. (Submitted photo)

Andrew Thom stresses he is joking when he says he was hoping his daughter would arrive in time for he and his wife, Nicole, to receive a tax credit for having a child in 2023.

But Nicole and Andrew were delighted when their daughter, Louella Ann, arrived in time to become the first baby of 2024 in The New Prague Times’ New Year’s Baby 2024 contest.

Louella Ann arrived Monday, Jan. 1, 8:10 p.m. Born at St. Francis Regional Medical Center, she arrived weighing 8 pounds, 8 ounces. Louella arrived at 21 1/2 inches long. Louella Ann is the couple’s first child.

“I feel like I had an easy pregnancy,” Nicole said. “If I was sick and stuff, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it.”

Last spring, Nicole’s doctor told her the baby would likely arrive around Jan. 5. But as the pregnancy developed, she was told the baby would be ready to arrive earlier. Friday, Dec. 29, doctors at St. Francis’ Family Birthplace began inducing Nicole. But she wasn’t ready to deliver and was sent home. She chose St. Francis since her insurance through her job as a clinic manager for Park Nicollet works with St. Francis Regional Medical Center.

Things changed and the following Sunday, Dec. 31, Nicole’s water broke. By Monday evening, she was ready to deliver her first child. She described the delivery as an easy process and is delighted with the outcome.

Louella’s middle name, Ann, is a tribute to Nicole and Andrew’s grandmothers who had Ann as part of their names. They expect their daughter might grow up known as “Ella.”

Andrew and Nicole were aware of the newspaper’s first baby contest but too focused on their new daughter to give the contest much thought. When Nicole’s mom, Kelly Jirik, offered to contact the newspaper, they gave her the go-ahead. As the parents of the first reported baby born to New Prague residents in 2024, Nicole and Andrew receive gifts from a dozen participating businesses.

“We weren’t planning for a New Year’s baby,” Nicole said. “It really didn’t even cross our minds.”

The contest included the opportunity for...

To see more on this story pick up the January 11, 2024 print edition of The New Prague Times. 



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