A Jennings County couple had expected a quiet New Year’s Eve — watching the ball drop at midnight on television at their Butlerville home before going to bed.

But there was more in store for Mitch and Kaitlin Harrell in the next few hours, as they would become parents of the first baby born in Bartholomew County in the new year.

Laken Irene Harrell arrived at 4:38 a.m. Monday, just hours after the couple made a hurried drive from their home northeast of Vernon in the frigid temperatures to Columbus Regional Hospital, where a surgical team assembled to deliver her by C-section.

The delivery had had been originally scheduled for Tuesday at the Columbus hospital, with Kaitlin’s actual due date Jan. 9. Although the couple did have a bag packed for a trip to the hospital, they weren’t expecting it to occur as early as New Year’s Day.

Laken weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds, 12 ounces, and has been quietly cuddling with her mother and father since her arrival. On Tuesday, she met big brother Ezekiel, who will turn 2 in February, at the hospital.

For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.