"I didn't expect to meet little Layla quite so soon," said Maricela Aleman Tovar. "I'm happy that she's OK."
But on New Year's Eve, Tovar and her husband came to Saint Joseph's Medical Center in downtown Houston.
"I had pain right here and in my back," said Tovar.
She was admitted to the hospital and gave birth by emergency C-section. Layla was born six weeks early, becoming the first Houston baby to greet the new year at 12:57am.
"She was four pounds, six ounces," said Tovar.
She is early, but doing well, says the neonatologist.
"She had a rough start in the beginning, but then afterwards, started doing OK," said Dr. Luis Munoz.
As far as the doctor goes, he wasn't even aware that Layla might be the first baby of the year at the time.
"They just called for a stat C-section so we went ahead as we always do," he said.
On Monday, the baby slept peacefully through the noise of the intensive care nursery and the television lights. She's got a full head of hair and ten perfect fingers and ten perfect toes.
But baby Layla will probably stay at the hospital for weeks until she can breathe on her own.
Meantime, her mom is greeting a new year in an unforgettable way.
"It's a good way to start off the year," said Tovar.
Layla will share her birthday with other babies born New Year's Day. A girl was born at Memorial Hermann Northeast at 1:01am, a boy was born at UTMB after 4am and our Houston Community Newspaper partner, the Montgomery County Courier, reports a girl born in Conroe at 7:19am.