First 2016 Leap Day baby is pretty in pink

After 2016, Evelyn Vallejo will celebrate her daughter’s birthday on March 1.

“Being born February 29 is not important. What matters is that she was born,” the tired but happy Champaign mom said about 12 hours after delivering Ameyali Yolotzin Chavez.

Ameyali, Carle’s first 2016 Leap Day baby, has scads of dark hair and rosy cheeks that practically require smooching. Six babies were born at Carle on Leap Day this year, which is about our regular daily average.

Evelyn is happy she got her girl.

“I get to dress her up and all that fun stuff,” she said. “I’m excited she’s a girl. I wanted a girl.”

And she’s sure Ameyali’s brothers Carlos, 15, and Andy, 6, will be good helpers at home.

“My oldest is glad she’s OK. My youngest, he’s the one who’s excited,” Evelyn said.

Like her brothers, Ameyali will be bilingual, Evelyn said through a Spanish interpreter on the Martti in-room translation system.

One of Evelyn’s nurse, Karen Beagles, RN, uses Martti with a few news moms a week and finds it very helpful. She has been with Carle for five years—all of them in obstetrics.

“I love helping mothers adjust to their new roles,” she said. “I love seeing the families.”

Beagles and her coworkers kept an eye on this year’s Leap Day baby tally, but not as closely as they watch for the first baby of each new year.

“We’re all excited, competing with other hospitals in the hope that Carle has the first,” she said.

While having Carle’s first Leap Day baby really isn’t a big deal for Evelyn, she smiles brightly when explaining she has an aunt in Mexico who shares the same unique birthday.

“They can both celebrate—every four years,” Evelyn said.