Kris Neville was out hunting ducks near Irrigon when his wife, Danielle Davies-Neville, went into labor on New Year’s Eve.
“My wife did give me permission to go out hunting,” Kris joked.
And while he only caught two ducks that day, he got a bigger prize when the couple welcomed Colton David Neville into the world just 17 minutes after the dawn of the new decade — at 12:17 a.m. on New Year’s Day — making him the first baby of the new year at Good Shepherd Family Birth Center and in Umatilla County.
Colton, a cool-natured boy weighing in at 8 pounds and 2 ounces and 22 inches long, gripped his mother’s finger fondly last Wednesday afternoon.
“He’s very calm,” Danielle said.
“That’s a mom trait,” Kris added.
The husband and wife moved to Hermiston from California just a year ago, following what Danielle described as an “early mid-life crisis.”
“I love it here,” Danielle said. “But Kris told me when we moved here that the place gets a light ‘dusting’ of snow in the winter.”
She said that when February came around and historic snow coated Umatilla County, she asked Kris to clarify the definition of “dusting.”
Colton, originally anticipated to be joining the family Jan. 3, has an older sister. Rylee, at almost 2 years old, is also a January baby.
“We’re keeping them close,” Danielle said.
Before the couple knew whether they were having a boy or a girl, they both separately compiled lists of names for each gender.
“Kris, being the kind of man he is, chose one name for each gender. I had a bunch on each list,” she said.
The male name Kris selected was Colton, which just happened to be on Danielle’s list as well, much to the couple’s delight.
Colton’s middle name, David, is a memorial to Danielle’s late father.
The Family Birth Center presented Colton and his parents with a large gift basket to celebrate his being the first baby of the year.
“We were all so excited it was them,” said Registered Nurse Terri Voorhees, who helped deliver Colton.
At 2 p.m. that afternoon, Voorhees said Colton was the only child born at the Hermiston hospital on the first day of 2020, although there was another baby on the way.