Four days into the new year, Alima Gueye gave birth to Barton Memorial Hospital Family Birthing Center's first baby at 1:25 a.m. Friday, with her husband, Mandoye N'Doye, by her side.
The couple, originally from Senegal, moved to South Lake Tahoe, where N'Doye works as the steward supervisor at Harrah's Lake Tahoe, 16 years ago. They have four children including the new infant, two of whom were born in South Lake Tahoe.
The two eldest daughters, ages 4 and 8, both live in Senegal. N'Doye said he hasn't seen them for five years, but plans to bring both of them to the South Shore this summer to live permanently. The whole family will be together then, he said.
N'Doye won't state the baby girl's name until a week after her birth. It's a religious custom, N'Doye explained, and next Friday the family will hold a Skype conference with relatives in Senegal as part of a naming ceremony that will include killing a cow and sheep to celebrate.
"It's going to be all my family, I call them and they pray and I say the name," he said.
Gueye, who speaks primarily French, started having pains Thursday around 3 p.m. After four hours, N'Doye decided it was time to drive to the hospital. The labor was a bit harder during this birth than the others, N'Doye translated for his wife.
"At 7 p.m. I was like, 'No matter what, let's go.' She's very strong," he said.
The hospital greeted the family and the newborn with $1,827 worth of donated gifts from South Shore businesses. Barton's Public Information Officer Rebecca Wass said they sent out letters asking companies if they wanted to contribute to the gift basket --or Red Flyer wagon --traditionally given to the family of the year's first baby.