After a very unusual year, two Kasson families started 2021 with happy surprises.

The parents of the first two babies born in Olmsted County in 2021 didn’t expect to be in the delivery room on New Year’s Eve. One baby came later than expected and one arrived much earlier.

Payton Bailey was 2021's first baby born at 12:50 a.m. at Methodist Hospital to Paul and Sara Bailey of Kasson. (Contributed photo)
Payton Bailey was 2021's first baby born at 12:50 a.m. at Methodist Hospital to Paul and Sara Bailey of Kasson. (Contributed photo)

Payton Bailey was the first to arrive this year, born at Mayo Clinic to Paul and Sara Bailey of Kasson. She weighed 5 pounds, 11 ounces.

Sara Bailey certainly didn’t plan on having a baby in 2021, since the birth team started inducing her at 9 a.m. Thursday. Almost 16 hours later, Payton Bailey finally made her entrance at 12:50 a.m.

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“I expected to have her on Dec. 31. I didn’t even think having a New Year’s baby was a possibility,” she said on Friday morning. “Hopefully, 2021 is different than 2020, but at least we ended it on a high note.”

The parents of the second baby of 2021 -- Leo Michel -- were even more surprised to find themselves in Olmsted Medical Center’s birthing unit on New Year’s Eve. Marisa Michel was only 32 weeks, six days into her pregnancy.

Marisa and Axel Michel welcomed their baby, Leo, at 2:40a.m. Friday morning at Olmsted Medical Center. Little Leo came into the world early and is spending time in the NICU. (Contributed Photo)
Marisa and Axel Michel welcomed their baby, Leo, at 2:40a.m. Friday morning at Olmsted Medical Center. Little Leo came into the world early and is spending time in the NICU. (Contributed Photo)

Marisa thought she might be overreacting when she called in with labor pains. After describing the pains, she was given some guidelines about when she would need to come to the hospital. About 90 minutes later, she and her husband, Axel Michel, were on their way to OMC about 7 p.m.

The birth team tried to stop or delay her labor, but eventually it became apparent that nothing would stop Leo from making an early appearance. Due to the early labor, plans were made to transfer her Mayo Clinic, but the baby was too enthusiastic for that to happen.

The Mayo Clinic Neonatal Intensive Care Unit went to OMC on standby as Marisa Michel gave birth to a 4 pound, 12 ounce son at 2:45 a.m.

Marisa and Axel Michel welcomed their baby, Leo, at 2:40a.m. Friday morning at Olmsted Medical Center. Little Leo came into the world early and is spending time in the NICU. (Contributed Photo)
Marisa and Axel Michel welcomed their baby, Leo, at 2:40a.m. Friday morning at Olmsted Medical Center. Little Leo came into the world early and is spending time in the NICU. (Contributed Photo)

“It was definitely not what we’re expecting (for New Year’s Eve). Being in labor is probably the only reason I made it to midnight, because I’m not really a night owl,” said Marisa Michel. “I was in the middle of getting an epidural when one of the nurses came in and said, ‘Happy New Year.’”

In the end, mother and son ended up in different hospitals. While Leo is healthy, as a premature baby he is getting help breathing and eating in Mayo Clinic’s NICU. Meanwhile, mother Marisa is still at OMC.

That means Marisa needs to have a negative COVD-19 test before she can go visit her baby, something she says is “a little upsetting.”

COVID-19 restrictions have also made things different for the Bailey family as only the mother and father are allowed in the room. Siblings 7-year-old Kayden and 4-year-old Tessa are waiting anxiously for their new sister to come home.

“It’s a different experience (compared to her last delivery). It’s kind of quiet,” said dad Paul Bailey.

The same scenario is playing out with the Michels as older brothers Lorenzo, 6 and Luka, 3, wait to see Leo for the first time.

While neither delivery went as planned, both mothers are thankful for the care given by the birthing teams during these unusual times.

“It was great seeing Mayo Clinic and OMC working together to meet a family’s needs,” said Marisa Michel.