At 12:09 a.m., Allana Dicken took her first breaths in our world. Actually, she came out hiccupping.
"She got hiccups in the womb, too," Mindy Dicken, her mom, laughed.
Mindy and Dave Dicken married in November 2011. Although they hadn't been planning a baby, equally, "We weren't planning not to," Dave said, smiling.
Jesse D. Watson/MDN • Mindy and Dave Dicken pose with their daughter, Allana. Both parents were exhausted but happy.
Submitted Photo • Born at 10:38 p.m. on Dec. 31, River Mercer, born to Cliff and Chrystyna of Stanley, was the last baby of the year. She received a gift basket from Trinity. “We also wanted to acknowledge the last baby of (2012),” Lisa Holtzclaw, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Trinity Health explained.
"Whenever the time was right," Mindy agreed. She said they felt fortunate. "A lot of people try for years."
Allana is healthy and has already begun starting to lift her head up on her own; she's learning to nurse.
"She goes from upset to calm very quickly," Dave observed. It's all a new experience for him. "I think she's the first baby (infant) I've ever held," he said. "It does feel a bit scary" to hold someone so tiny.
Dave is from England. Mindy is from Minot. The couple met in Kansas City, a metropolis on the border of Kansas and Missouri.
"A lot of people are surprised by that," Mindy said. "It's 1,000 miles from Minot."
And England is about 4,000 miles from Kansas City, too. Dave was visiting a family in Kansas City who happened to be mutual friends of Mindy, who was living in that city at the time. Although marrying across the borders of countries is not easy, even between the United States and the United Kingdom, they've surmounted the obstacles, the trauma of being kept apart while they had to wait on international laws, and most importantly, they're now together. And with their daughter, they are now three.
"We just feel so fortunate," Mindy reiterated. She and Dave were exhausted after about 12 hours of contractions and labor, but they were both peaceful, happy and grateful.
Trinity Health this year recognized both the last baby of 2012 and the first baby of 2013 with gift baskets.
As of press, it was unconfirmed whether Allana was the first birth for all of N.D. or just for Minot.