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Now a family of six, Marcus and Leah Kagarise welcome baby Winter into the world. She was born at 4:32 a.m. Wednesday.

Winter Wren Kagarise was born at 4:32 a.m. on Jan. 1, at Mary Washington Hospital—the first baby born in the Fredericksburg region this decade.

She is the fourth child for King George County couple Leah and Marcus Kagarise. Winter weighed 7½ pounds and was 19 inches long at birth.

Leah Kagarise, 30, didn’t expect her little girl to be born so close to midnight. The baby was due Jan. 7, and Leah thought she would be discharged from the hospital when her labor wasn’t progressing. The hospital had already sent home two other women for the same reason earlier that day.

“I was like, I’m going home, too,” Leah said, “and then all of a sudden she started kicking and I was like, OK.”

She ended up being in labor for 10 hours, but it wasn’t until about 2:30 a.m. that the process started to move quickly. It moved so quickly that Winter’s grandmother, Linda Kagarise, missed the birth after going home at 1:30 a.m. to get some rest.

Even the epidural the doctors gave Leah did not have time to kick in before Winter was born.

Leah thought her daughter would be born early, but she didn’t think she would give birth on New Year’s Day.

“We totally joked about it,” said Leah.

“My whole thing was that it would be in the middle of the day when I’m delivering,” said Marcus, 31, a UPS driver in Stafford County.

Instead, Winter arrived in the early morning on a holiday. By 1 p.m. Wednesday, the entire family filled the hospital room to see Leah, Marcus and Winter—including Winter’s siblings: Jacob, Willow and Abigail.

Once home, the newborn will share a room with her sisters, who according to their mother, love baby dolls. Abigail, age 3, even brought a baby doll with her to the hospital.

“I don’t think they really knew what was hitting them, because they are so into their baby dolls,” Leah said.

The family originally thought the baby would be a boy, and wanted to name the baby Kanan. Once they learned they would be having a little girl, the couple started to look for names again.

Marcus suggested they alter their original name to “Kana,” instead.

The soon-to-be mom of four wasn’t sold on that name.

“I was just, like, praying about it and this little birdie showed up on our awning,” Leah said, “I looked it up to see what kind of bird it would be and it said winter wren and I said, oh, she’ll be born in the winter, and I wanted a name where I could call her my little bird and wren meant songbird and I was like, that’s it, it’s our sign from God.”

As she thought back on the origin of her daughter’s name, Leah started crying.

“Sorry. Hormones,” she said, laughing as she wiped the tears off her face.

In Leah’s arms, wrapped in a teal blanket with orange and white flowers and a matching hat, Winter slept soundly despite the excitement in the room.

The second baby in the region wouldn’t be born until 8:27 a.m., according to Erin Supko, the marketing and development specialist of Stafford Hospital. The 6 pound, 8 ounce baby boy was also named Winter.

Winter Gael Aparicio is also the fourth child in his family as well. His mother, Yoxany Maldonado, and father, Gerber Aparicio, decided to name him in honor of the season, because he is the first of their children to be born in winter, according to Supko.

Hailey Bullis: 540/374-5469

hbullis@freelancestar.com

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