Suffolk celebrates first 2013 babies

Published 7:25 pm Saturday, January 5, 2013

First-time dad Joe Diaz of Whaleyville holds new daughter, Charlette Grace Diaz, at Sentara Obici Hospital where on Jan. 2 she became the first baby born in Suffolk in 2013.

Suffolk’s first baby of 2013, an “easygoing” girl, was delivered at Sentara Obici Hospital shortly after midday on Jan. 2 and is enjoying life already, her parents report.

Charlette Grace Diaz, daughter of Whaleyville’s Tina Chavez, 39, and Joe Diaz, 33, came into the world at 12:13 p.m. after a 14-hour labor and weighing six pounds.

Wyatt Roman Arnold, pictured with mom Cheryl Guthrie, was born at Southampton Memorial Hospital a few hours ahead of Charlette on Jan. 2. Guthrie is from Holland.

“It was long, but it was very easy,” Chavez said of her third experience of giving birth, which occurred nine days ahead of schedule.

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While little Charlette has two half-brothers — Brady, 17, and Koby, 15 — living in Washington state, she is a first child for Diaz.

“It feels great,” he said Friday after hurrying home from a shift at Norfolk International Terminals to help Charlette settle in.

Chavez’s water broke at 9 a.m. on New Year’s Day “and we made it to the hospital about 10 a.m.,” Diaz added. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t speeding, but I didn’t get any tickets.”

Diaz was present during the birth, saying he was “set back” by the experience. “It was my first baby; I was pretty much in awe,” he said.

“It feels good,” Chavez added. “We were hoping for a tax-deduction, but we will take a News Year’s baby instead.”

Chavez described Charlette as the perfect baby. “She’s very easygoing, mellow and quiet. She sleeps well,” she said.

After arriving home with the baby Friday morning, she said, she hasn’t had long enough to gauge whether she herself will sleep well, adding, “I was getting enough sleep at the hospital, but we’ll find out tonight how well it goes.”

Diaz’s parents traveled from Florida for the birth of their first grandchild. Chavez said they’re planning a trip across the country soon so Charlette can meet her siblings.

“She looks just like her dad – his nose, his mouth. All of it. His personality as well,” she said. “He’s (Joe) really laid back.”

Meanwhile, though Charlette Grace Diaz will live in history as the first baby born in Suffolk in 2013, another baby, Wyatt Roman Arnold, will have the honor of being the first Suffolk child born this year.

He will be brought home to Holland after being born at Southampton Memorial Hospital at 1 a.m. on Jan. 2, the first child to be born in 2013 at that hospital.

As of Friday, Wyatt remained at the hospital with 26-year-old mom Cheryl Guthrie, a licensed practical nurse there who went into labor one week early and near the end of a 12-hour shift.

“I checked myself in, went home and got a shower and came here,” Guthrie told The Tidewater News.

Wyatt’s dad, Gregory Arnold, lives in Chesapeake, and Wyatt joins his sister, Aubrey, 16 months.