AUGUSTA — Rachel Marshall held and gently stroked her new, pink-faced son, Austin Peter Marshall, on Friday and whispered to him, as he slept in her arms, “You’re so special.”

He is. And not just in the way any newborn should be to his parents.

Rachel and Theodore Marshall, of Manchester, hold their son, Austin Peter Marshall, on Friday at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta. He was the first baby born there in 2020.

Eight-pound, 20.5 inch long Austin is MaineGeneral Medical Center’s first baby of 2020.

His arrival was later than that of most previous “New Year’s babies” at MaineGeneral, longtime staff members said, but still earlier than had been planned. Austin was due to be born Jan. 8, but parents Rachel and Theodore Marshall had his birth induced on the advice of health-care providers, due to potential complications. The Marshalls arrived at the hospital Wednesday morning.

Some 41 hours after her initial labor first started, and after two hours of active labor, Austin was born at 12:30 a.m. Friday.

Theodore Marshall said being the first baby of the new year at the hospital is “a nice little claim to fame for” Austin but both parents know what’s really important is that their baby was successfully delivered and is healthy. And they’re looking forward to giving him the best life they can.

The first-time mother said what she looked forward to most with her son was “being able to give him as amazing a childhood as I had.” Rachel Marshall, who works as an administrator for a Brunswick company, added, “I had amazing parents and I want to make sure he gets the same love and attention I got.”

Theodore Marshall, a firefighter and paramedic with the Augusta Fire Department, has similar plans. “I’m looking forward to all the fun father-son experiences I can do,” he said. “Take him on trips, take him to the firehouse with me, stuff like that. Do some of the stuff my dad did with me.”

The new father said that in his job as a firefighter and paramedic he has come close, but never had to deliver a baby himself.

Austin was swaddled in a blue blanket with fire trucks on it, a blanket his mother made after she couldn’t find a swaddling blanket with a firefighting theme.

Austin Peter Marshall’s middle name is in honor of his late paternal grandfather. Austin’s father chose his first name to honor his mother’s Texas-born-and-raised roots.

Austin slept peacefully Friday afternoon when nurses brought him a large gift basket that hospital staff had bought for the year’s first baby.

“He’s doing well, he’s feeding, sleeping, crying, doing everything a baby should be doing,” the new father said of Austin.

The Manchester couple was surprised to learn, after being admitted, that MaineGeneral had not already had its first baby of the new year.

Theodore Marshall joked that his wife is very competitive, and when she heard there hadn’t been a first baby of the new year yet, “she was like, let’s make this happen!”

Austin was delivered by certified nurse midwife Holly Christensen. The Marshalls said she did great and the entire medical team involved in their stay has been great and made for a great experience there.

Theodore Marshall noted his wife “is a wonderfully amazing and strong woman who did an amazing job,” in giving birth to their son.

The new parents hope to be able to go home Sunday.

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