‘Totally Unexpected’: 1st Baby Of Year Born Early In Annapolis Home


Emily Last gave birth to her second daughter, Thea Last, on New Year’s Day in their Annapolis home. The mother and daughter are pictured above at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center during post-delivery care. (Courtesy of Emily Last)

ANNAPOLIS, MD - The first baby of the year wasn't born at one of Anne Arundel County's two hospitals. She was born as a "totally unexpected" surprise in an Annapolis home.

Emily and Jeff Last planned to have their second daughter at Luminis Health Anne Arundel Medical Center, but it turns out Baby Thea couldn't wait. 

She was born three weeks early in the Last family's bedroom just after midnight on New Year's Day. The healthy girl weighed 5 pounds and 15 ounces and measured 18.25 inches long.

"This was never the plan, but it was fantastic," Emily told Patch in a Thursday interview. "We were in shock just from the chaos of it all."

The married couple celebrated New Year's Eve in Washington, D.C. with friends. Emily had some cramps during the day, but she didn't think much of them with her due date so far away.

They returned home around 10:30 p.m. and tucked in their 2.5-year-old daughter, Francie.

Emily's contractions picked up at 11 p.m. Jeff scrambled to find a babysitter for Francie, so they could get to the hospital.

With the New Year only minutes away, finding a sitter proved difficult. Emily's water broke in the living room. It became clear this would be a home delivery.

The parents-to-be called 911 and breathed a sigh of relief when the Annapolis Fire Department arrived within minutes. 

Firefighter and Paramedic Ashley Rolson "confidently and calmly" took the helm. 

Ashley has been with the Annapolis Fire Department for nearly 5 years, but this was her first baby delivery. Emily was impressed with Ashley's comforting care, even though it was her first time.

"You would've thought it was her 50th time doing it," Emily said of Ashley's delivery skills. "She was so phenomenal and her team was so supportive of her that I just assumed she was always the lead on these things, but pretty neat to find out that that was her first time."

With Ashley's help, Thea was born at 12:41 a.m. The paramedic said "it all happened fairly quickly" and credited the parents and her fire department crew.

"It was a team effort between us and the wonderful parents," Ashley, who is assigned to the Taylor Avenue Fire Station, told Patch in a statement. "Having such a strong patient made all the difference. I am in awe of the mother's strength and I feel very grateful to have been able to assist in such a beautiful moment."

Emily said it was "terrifying" holding Thea for the first time, but the fire department reassured her the baby was stable.

"I was convinced she wasn't breathing," Emily told Patch in a follow-up email. "It took all of the paramedics repeating: she's doing great! She's breathing! It felt like forever before I heard her cry."

Emily rode with Ashley to Anne Arundel Medical Center for post-delivery care. Jeff stayed home with Francie until a babysitter arrived and then headed to the hospital himself.

Francie was born at Anne Arundel Medical Center, so Emily was pleased with another round of "top-notch" care.

"We're just glad it turned out so well," hospital spokesperson Justin McLeod told Patch in an interview. "There were a lot of smiles in that unit that night."

The attention now turns to settling into a new family routine with two little girls.

Francie has a big personality, so Emily is confident she will be a loving sister.

"She's a little unsure right now of 'Baby Theeruh' in her house but I think ultimately she will embrace her role," Emily wrote.

Emily thinks the birth will bring her family together "celebrating the fresh new life, a breath of fresh air."

"The birth of Thea, with the circumstances we experienced, gave us so much more perspective on how lucky we are to have a healthy birth, to be surrounded by truly good humans helping make it smooth, and a wonderful community sharing in the uplifting news," Emily wrote.

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