ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County’s first baby of 2014 snuck early Wednesday morning.
Dean Gallagher Brown was born at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital at 3:50 a.m. to Daneille Appleby and Matthew Brown. Dean weighed 7 pounds, 15 ounces and measured 19 inches long. Dean is Brown’s middle name and Gallagher is Appleby’s grandfather’s middle name.
Appleby, 23, recently received her GED, and plans pursue phlebotomy. Brown, 30, is a supervisor at Richmond Specialty Yarns in Ellerbe. The family resides in Rockingham.
Dean won’t be alone anytime soon — his older siblings include Daytona Appleby, 4, Nadira Brown, 8, Nathaniel Parker, 11, and Sierra Brown, 13.
Sierra enjoyed talking to Appleby’s stomach during the pregnancy. So it was no surprise that when she saw Dean for the first time she was very happy and was busy taking pictures on her cellphone.
Dean is a much welcomed addition, but he may be too quiet.
Appleby went in for her regularly scheduled appointment on Tuesday morning not expecting Dean until Jan. 4 only to find out she was 3 centimeters dilated.
“I didn’t know I was in labor,” Appleby said.
Brown was with Appleby in the delivery room focusing on keeping her calm through the process.
“It was exciting,” said Brown, who had the honor of cutting the umbilical cord of his fourth child.
Appleby explained how it felt to hold Dean for the first time.
“It was amazing,” she said. “They put him right on me, and it was the best feeling in the world. There are no words to explain that feeling.”
Appleby said as she started to get emotional trying to put into words how that moment felt.
Dean put “so much joy back into my life,” she said.
Appleby had formed a bond with Dean while she carried him but the physical bond she experienced when she held him for the first time “felt real.” Dean was crying and Appleby started repeating his name, and he stopped crying. Appleby had soothed her newborn son for the first time.
Jessica Vuncannon, a registered nurse in the Women and Children’s Department at FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital had the privilege of informing Appleby and Brown that they had given birth to Richmond County’s first baby of 2014.
“Both were joyful and excited” Vuncannon said of the parents reaction to receiving the good news.
As part of the tradition, FirstHealth gives the new mother a gift basket. Appleby’s gift basket contained a stuffed sea turtle, a picture frame and pacifiers among other goodies.
Dean will always be able to say he was Richmond County’s first baby in 2014, and that he has a meaningful name. As for his future, Appleby hopes that Dean will be active in sports, but “as long as he’s happy, I’ll be happy.”