New year, new babies: Montefiore greets first Bronx babies of 2023

photo of the baby
Nova Marie Holder was the first Bronx baby to be delivered by Montefiore this year.
Photos courtesy Montefiore

It’s a new year baby!

As the ball dropped and couples kissed, as early risers snoozed and partiers danced, some of the first babies of the year were being born.

Bronxites Kiana Baez and Brandon Holder hold their newborn Nova Marie Holder, the first Bronx baby to be delivered by Montefiore this year.

Montefiore Medical Center delivered its first two Bronx babies of the year just 4 minutes apart, almost three hours after the the clock struck midnight Sunday morning.

Nova Marie Holder was born at 2:53 a.m. on Jan. 1 to Bronxites Kiana Baez and Brandon Holder at Montefiore’s Jack D. Weiler campus in Morris Park. She weighed 6 pounds and was 17.5 inches long.

Setting the trends for 2023, the Bronx baby sported an almost all-white outfit with matching ruffles on her socks and headband. Her mittens brought a grey accent to her New Year’s ensemble.

Yeniel Plasencia arrived just four minutes later at 2:57 a.m. at Montefiore’s Wakefield location. The baby was 8 pounds, 12 ounces and 21 inches long.

Yeniel Plasencia was the second Bronx baby to be born under Montefiore’s care this year.

His mother, Mendez Arias, is a Bronx native.

The Capricorn wore a blue knit hat as part of his first-day outfit, handmade by Melu Cejas, a nurse who assisted with Plasencia’s delivery. Cejas has been making hats for newborns on special occasions and holidays for years.

Montefiore first announced that Plascencia was the organization’s first Bronx delivery of the year, but it was later learned that Holder was born minutes earlier. Still, Plasencia was the first on the Wakefield campus.

Plasencia’s delivery was also aided by nurse Rene Francis-Lawrence, who is known as the “baby whisperer.”

“Being a labor and delivery nurse is so rewarding because seeing the joy and love on mom and dad’s faces when they get to first see their baby is a wonderful feeling,” Francis-Lawrence said. “My coworkers call me the baby whisperer because every time I’m at work my patients will always deliver their baby. To be the first nurse within my organization to bring in the New Year caring for my patient and delivering their baby was a night I will always remember.”

Dr. Lucy Rose, a third-year resident, Dr. Taylor Douglas, a first-year resident and nurse Rene Francis-Lawrence pose with baby Yeniel and his mother Yenelsi Mendez Arias and father Emmanuel Plasencia.

Dr. Taylor Douglas, a post graduate resident, said that one of the many privileges of being an Ob/Gyn is bringing babies into the world.

“It is an even greater honor to have been present for this special delivery,” Douglas said of Plasencia’s birth.

Montefiore Medical Center, a nonprofit private hospital system, has campuses in the Norwood, Morris Park, Wakefield and Westchester Square sections of the Bronx, as well as in Westchester, Rockland and Orange counties.

In 2022, there were 4,404 birth certificates that came from births at the Montefiore Bronx hospitals, according to the medical center.

Reach Aliya Schneider at [email protected] or (718) 260-4597. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes