Glen Innes Hospital welcomes first 2017 baby, Clare Bella-Rose Keenan

Proud parents: First-time parents Emma Looker and Wayne Keenan are excited to welcome Clare Bella-Rose Keenan to the world in 2017.
Proud parents: First-time parents Emma Looker and Wayne Keenan are excited to welcome Clare Bella-Rose Keenan to the world in 2017.

Exhausted but thrilled, Emma Looker and Wayne Keenan spent their fifth day of 2017 welcoming the newest member of their family to the world. 

Born at 6:15am on January 5 and weighing in at a healthy 7lb 7oz, Clare Bella-Rose Keenan was the first baby born in the Glen Innes Hospital this year.

However, it wasn’t the easiest time for first-time mother Emma, who was in labour from 5pm the previous day.

“My water broke at around 5pm on Tuesday afternoon and I was just at home laying in bed,” Ms Looker said.

“It actually got to about 5:30am in the morning and she wasn’t sitting right and so the contractions weren’t doing what they were meant to do so I got sent up for a cesarean.

“Her face was somehow tilted the wrong way and they couldn’t move her head.”

But all that doesn’t matter now as the new parents are thrilled to have a happy, healthy baby.

Ms Looker said she has been living in Glen Innes for her whole life and works at the Aussie Kindies Early Learning Centre. 

Her experience working with children has helped her feel more comfortable in her new role as a mother and has so far felt at ease with the demands of the new role.

“I’ve been living here in Glen Innes my whole life,” Ms Looker said.

“I’m pretty familiar with kids because I work with kids just down the road in town here.”

Mr Keenan is relatively new to town after moving from Coffs Harbour.

However said he felt confident that they would have a lot of support in their parenting journey, being surrounded by family and friends here in Glen Innes.

When it came to deciding on a name for their little girl, the pair said they were torn between a few different options.

“We looked at a list of names and decided on Clare eventually but there was a couple of others that we were looking at,” Ms Looker said.

“We also looked at Paige and Cassandra as well.”

The most popular babies names for girls in 2016 included Charlotte, Olivia, Amelia, Emily, Sophia, Ava, Mia and Grace according to the 2016 McCrindle’s Baby Name Australia Report. 

As for the boys, the most popular names for the year included Noah, William, Jack, Thomas, James, Ethan, Jackson and Oliver.

But for this Glen Innes couple, Clare took the cake.

“It just feels really good [to be a mum],” Ms Looker said.

Together Mr Keenan and Ms Looker say that they are extremely excited to see what the future brings for them as they begin their new journey as a family.

“I’m just really so excited to watch her grow up,” Ms Looker said.