By Kristen Miller
DASSEL, MN Proud parents Jerry and Nancy Bonnifield of Dassel had no idea the first baby born in the new year came with so much attention, nor did they think their son, A.J., would receive such a distinction.
Nancy’s original due date was Jan. 4. The couple actually went to the hospital a week early, Dec. 29, with a plan to induce labor. Deciding that wasn’t the best option, the couple decided to wait until Nancy went into labor in her own time.
At that time, giving birth to the new year’s baby had been the furthest thing from their minds, Nancy said.
Baby A.J., short for Arlin Jerry, was born naturally Jan. 6, 2011, at 10:57 a.m., weighing 9 pounds, measuring 21 inches long.
When the couple heard A.J. was the first baby born at Meeker Memorial Hospital in the new year, they were surprised.
“[We thought] isn’t the New Year’s baby born on New Year’s Day or close to it!” Jerry said.
The couple was unaware that the new year’s baby brought with it so much attention.
“Everybody has been talking about it,” Nancy said. “I never knew it was such a big deal.”
The couple was also overwhelmed with joy that so many businesses donated items and gift certificates to the parents of the new year’s baby.
“We were taken aback by all the attention given to the New Year’s baby,” Jerry said.
“It was pretty cool . . . and the gifts they just kept coming,” Nancy said, noting her appreciation to all the businesses.
The couple has two other children, Eli, 6; and Evelyn, 3.
“It’s obvious it gets easier the third time around,” Nancy said, noting A.J. was born within three hours.
The Bonnifields moved to Dassel four years ago from Cokato, and have been in the area for 12 years. Nancy is a business teacher at Kimball High School, and Jerry works for Litchfield Flooring.
Nancy decided to receive her pregnancy care from Dr. Dan Schminke at Meeker Memorial Clinic in Dassel.
“He is fabulous,” Nancy said.
A.J. is a healthy and happy baby, who eats well and sleeps well, Nancy said. “We couldn’t ask for a better baby,” she added.
The other kids have also adapted to their new brother.
“It’s like A.J. has always been here,” Nancy said.