Matthew and Veronica Firmature of Aurora celebrate the birth of their second child Maximus Xavier Firmature, who was born at 5:49 a.m. Sunday at Edward Hospital in Naperville. (David Sharos / Naperville Sun)

Hospitals around the country eagerly await the first born child of the new year, and at Edward-Elmhurst Health in Naperville, that baby was Maximus Xavier Firmature, a seven-pound, 12-ounce baby boy, who arrived at 5:49 a.m. Sunday.

Activity in the labor and delivery department at Edward was unusually light going into 2017, as the 19-inch Firmature baby was the only one born overnight.

"We usually have anywhere from three to six babies born going into the new year," said charge nurse Cindy Costillo, who has worked at the hospital for nine years. "Most of the deliveries we have now are scheduled for during the week, while the weekends and holidays are more about people who walk in and are in labor or there are emergencies."

Maximus’ parents — Matthew and Veronica Firmature, 33 and 32 respectively, of Aurora — said their son, their second child, was due Jan. 6, but Veronica’s water broke just before midnight.

"This was definitely an easier delivery than my first with our daughter Viviana, who will be 2 in February," Veronica Firmature said. "I had about 13 hours of labor with her, and Maximus’ here was only about six hours."

The couple said they knew the gender of both children ahead of time, and that Matthew, in particular, was happy to have a son.

"If I could have controlled things, I would rather have the son be the elder so her could look out for and protect his sister," he said, "but since the kids are only 22 months apart, I figure they’re close enough.

"You also have the family name that lives on, so that’s kind of cool, and now if my wife is shopping or into all that girly stuff, we’ll have other stuff to do. But in the end, it’s all about being healthy and having ten fingers and toes."

Hospital staff also enjoys bragging rights about the first-born baby, and Patty Wirth, a mother/baby nurse at Edward who was also caring for the Firmature couple and their baby, said that in her 37-year career, she has come close but has never been the nurse for a first-born in the city.

"I worked years ago at Evanston and almost had a first-born there in the city," Wirth recalled. "Another hospital got it just before we did, but at least I have the first born here in Naperville this year."

Veronica Firmature said her daughter is already referring to herself as "the big sister" and talking about "baby Max." When asked what lessons she has learned about parenting based on her first child, she offered two very succinct observations.

"You have to have patience and get on a schedule," she said. "The hardest thing to live with is the sleep deprivation, and the schedule thing is definitely worse for you than the baby."

"With patience, you can get through anything," Matthew Firmature added. "One of the things about having a baby on New Year’s Day is that it will always be a big celebration, but it kind of stinks he’s already having his golden birthday."

Matthew Firmature works as a mortgage banker for Chase Bank in Aurora and couldn’t help noting the financial angle of having missed a tax write-off by less than six hours.

"I really wanted to have our son last year, but some people pointed out to me that it was good that the 18 years of having a write-off won’t start until next year," he said. "Hopefully, the tax laws are going to change, and the longer I wait before things start, the better it will hopefully be."

The Firmature couple said they hope to have a third child sometime later on.

David Sharos is a freelance reporter for the Naperville Sun.

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