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New Year's baby: Sterling couple's first child here 2 weeks early

DIXON – Henry William Lawson is a mover and a shaker.

The first baby of the new year just couldn’t wait to come into the world: Henry was born at 10:20 p.m. Tuesday at KSB Hospital, almost 2 weeks before his due date of Jan. 12. He was 6 pounds, 9 ounces and 19 inches long.

New mother Sabrina Rippy, 19, of Sterling, went into labor around 4 o’clock in the morning New Year’s Day; she felt contractions, but she slept through them. Rippy got to the hospital at 1 o’clock in the afternoon; she got an epidural within a half-hour and then was dilated to 8 centimeters an hour later.

“It was so slow after that,” Rippy said. “It stayed that way for 4 hours.”

Rippy started pushing at 9:30 p.m.

“I knew once I started pushing, it wasn’t going to take long,” she said. “He was ready to come out. He moved the whole time. He just really wanted to come out.”

Proud father Markus Lawson, 23, of Sterling, held his son close, just moments after his birth.

“I couldn’t wait. It was an agonizing 9 months,” Lawson said. “I had been talking to him for 9 months, but I think it worked: He came out crying, and I first got to hold him, and he hushed right up.”

The couple, who have been together for more than a year, settled on a name ahead of time – but they weren’t without their headaches. They knew his middle name would be William, just like his father. But they struggled with a first name. They finally settled on Henry – a name they “just liked” and happened to be the same as his paternal great-grandfather.

Henry is a bit of a miracle: Rippy was high risk early in her pregnancy; she suffered bleeding and severe morning sickness, which left her dehydrated. She was not expected to carry the baby to term.

But Henry hung on. Rippy had a much easier pregnancy – save for a couple “paranoia-related” hiccups – after the first trimester.

The couple are excited to be parents – nervous, but excited.

“We’re so happy he’s here,” Rippy said.

They have big hopes and dreams for their little boy, who slept despite having visitors Wednesday afternoon. They hope he does well in school and goes out for sports, among other typical-kid experiences.

“Whatever he’s going to do, we’re going to be behind him,” Lawson said.

Henry is the first grandchild for Rippy’s parents, Amy and Antonio Hicks of Rock Falls, and the second for Lawson’s parents, Grace and Gary Sodawasser of Sterling and Jeff Lawson of Dixon.

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