Brenna Swift, The Union Democrat

Following a rush of births on New Year's Eve, Sonora Regional Medical Center endured a long wait for the first baby of 2013 - until the arrival of Linkin Paul Lifur at 1:28 p.m. Thursday.

Baby Linkin, weighing in at 8 pounds, 9 ounces and measuring 21 inches long, was born to Gerald Lifur and Valerie Thomas, of Twain Harte. He was fast asleep two hours after his arrival, but still drawing the full attention of his parents and Thomas's sister Melanie.

Thomas was pleasantly surprised that Linkin earned the honor of being the first baby born at the hospital in 2013.

"It's awesome," she said. "I didn't expect it. He was three days overdue."

The baby came into the world with a full head of light-colored hair. His eyes reminded Thomas of her own father, who - along with Lifur's uncle - gave Linkin his middle name.

New dad Lifur marveled at his

son's calmness. Lifur's great-aunt Inez, 93, who lives in Oklahoma, crocheted the turquoise blanket Linkin was bundled into Thursday.

"He hasn't even cried yet, really," Lifur said.

Thomas also looked calm and happy after a six-hour labor that she described as "not that bad." She said the moments after her son's birth felt surreal.

Lifur, 28, and Thomas, 27, came to Twain Harte from Valley Springs. Linkin is the couple's first child.

About 550 babies are born every year at Sonora Regional Medical Center, according to hospital spokeswoman Gail Witzlsteiner. The first baby of each year typically arrives earlier than Jan. 3, though the second baby of 2013 was born shortly after Linkin.

Thanks to a lullaby played over the hospital's intercom whenever a baby is born, everyone knew when Linkin had arrived on the scene.

Since he helped ring in 2013, Sonora Regional Medical Center is bestowing Linkin with $200 in a new college savings account.

"We're excited," Lifur told his grandmother by phone. "He's beautiful."