ANTIOCH -- First came Julianna Nicole Casillas, the East Bay's first baby of 2014. Then came the fireworks, lighting up the dark horizon over eastern Contra Costa County.
Exhausted parents Alyssa Leblanc-Fumar and Iban Casillas heard the distant explosions and caught a glimpse of the midnight light show, but had another beautiful sight to behold in their third-floor delivery room at Kaiser Permanente Antioch Medical Center.
"When I look at her, I fell so in love," Leblanc-Fumar said of her baby daughter.
"She's just how I imagined, gorgeous," added Casillas, the baby's proud father.
Two other Kaiser hospitals took credit for delivering the Bay Area's first babies of 2014. The first baby, Lillianna Noel Tiopan, arrived two seconds after the stroke of midnight at the Kaiser hospital in San Jose.
The second, a boy, arrived eight seconds after midnight at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. Another boy was born at the California Pacific Medical Center's California campus at 12:01 a.m.
But no one is sure if Julianna Nicole, the East Bay's first 2014 baby, arrived before or after the other births because the clock in the Antioch delivery room does not calculate seconds.
Before the sun rose on New Year's Day, several other New Year babies were born in the East Bay: one delivered at 12:17 a.m. at the Kaiser hospital in Walnut Creek; another at 12:57 a.m. at Sutter Health's Alta Bates in Berkeley; then at 1:58 a.m. at the Kaiser hospital in Oakland and 2:29 a.m. at Washington Hospital in Fremont.
All of them joined the 317,297,938 people the U.S. Census Bureau predicts were living in the United States on Jan. 1, with another baby born every 8 seconds.
New Year's Day was the official due date for Julianna Nicole Casillas, but her Livermore parents didn't think she would actually arrive on time. Not, at least, until early Tuesday morning, when labor began and the couple drove for nearly an hour from their Livermore home to the Antioch hospital.
The birth was a natural one and the baby was healthy, weighing 6 pounds, 10 ounces, and just over 19 inches long.
Leblanc-Fumar, 19, who plans to take time off to care for and nurse the baby, and her boyfriend Casillas, 21, a carpenter who also plans to take time off, were both raised in the area -- she in Tracy and he in Livermore. They have high hopes for 2014.
"Hopefully, this year comes out with good things, not just a bunch of bad news," said the new mom.