Aberdeen mom Charity Davis wasn't expecting to spend New Year's Day at the hospital, but her brand new baby girl had other plans.
Born at 7:44 a.m. Jan. 1, Aa'Liyah Hope — Harford County's first bundle of joy for the year — arrived more than a month early to an overjoyed, but truly surprised, family.
"I was completely caught off guard," Davis, 27, said at her house Tuesday, a few hours after being discharged from Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. Though Aa'Liyah was small from being born a month before her due date — 5 pounds, 4 ounces and 18 ½ inches at birth — Davis said she was perfectly healthy and, so far, fairly quiet.
The second-time mother, who held her newborn wrapped in a blanket, said she was nervous about getting everything together in time for the baby, but seemed to be calm and content just to be at home with her loved ones. She said her family and friends had been great helping her.
Davis' mother, Hope Davis-Radford, drove from Virginia that morning to pick up mom and baby from the hospital and to spend time with her new granddaughter, who was also getting attention from big sister Aa'Kirah.
"She would pat my belly," Davis said of her daughter's interaction with Aa'Liyah before she was born. Even as she held the baby, the 2-year-old girl gazed at her sister in awe, kissing her forehead and touching her face gently.
James Taylor, Davis' cousin who called himself "a proud uncle," and Pierce Davis, her brother, were also there to visit with the newest addition to the family.
Sitting near a colorfully-decorated Christmas tree, Davis kept repeating how happy she was.
"It's fun having two girls," she said.