Moments after Erika Stokes gave birth to her second child, confetti flew -- right there in the delivery room.
"We had a ball," said the 24-year-old Augusta woman, whose daughter, Ebonee Denise Jones, entered the world 45 seconds after midnight Saturday at University Hospital, becoming the first local baby of 2000.
Ms. Stokes had gathered with family on New Year's Eve, helping prepare a traditional dinner of black-eyed peas and collard greens.
Then she began having abdominal pains and headed for the hospital.
"I just wanted to get some medicine for the pain and leave," she said. But her baby had other plans.
"They called me in about 10:45 or 11 p.m.," said attending physician, Dr. Allan Joseph, who was home asleep after an exceptionally long stint in the delivery room the night before.
The birth, Dr. Joseph said, was completely natural and very smooth. By 12:01 a.m., it was all over, and the celebration had begun.
Ms. Stokes soon found herself surrounded by well-wishers who gathered in University's delivery room.
"The staff all came up and threw confetti at us," she said, laughing.
The proud mother received a gown and other gifts. The child will receive a $20,000 scholarship presented by The Augusta Chronicle and sponsored by television station WRDW (Channel 12) and University Hospital.
Ms. Stokes said that having the first baby of the new century is special enough but that the scholarship that accompanies the honor will be even more welcome.
"I'd heard about it on the news but didn't have any idea we'd win it," she said. "We're going to use that scholarship, though. I can tell you that right now."
The child's father, Troy Jones, said he slept through the whole thing, thinking the child would be born much later.
"They woke me up this morning, beating on the door," Mr. Jones, a Dixieland Concrete employee, said Saturday.
Despite the hoopla and visits by family and friends, the 20-inch long, 6-pound, 12 1/2 -ounce infant spent most of Saturday sleeping soundly in her "First Baby of the Year" nightshirt.
Family members said they are very pleased.
"I have a millennium niece," beamed 8-year-old Shannon Mathis, the infant's aunt, who was fascinated with her tiny new relative.
Ms. Stokes, who works at Smoak's Bakery in Augusta, said she never expected to have the city's first child of the new year.
"I knew it was close," she said. "But not that close."
Ebonee is the couple's second child. Their first, Troy Lamar Jones Jr., is 1.
Other New Year's babies arrived at Doctors Hospital at 3:56 a.m.; at Medical College of Georgia Hospital at 6:35 a.m.; and at St. Joseph Hospital at 12:05 p.m. Saturday.
ReachRobert Pavey at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 119, or firstname.lastname@example.org.