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New Years storms keep Perham's New Year's Babe from being born in Fargo

Justine and Nick Ostlie and Perham's New Years baby Gabriel sit with the many gifts donated by local businesses. The Ostlie's doctor, Illene Reed, back left, and their nurse, Connie Richter, joined them. Photo by Sam Benshoof.

Last week's winter storms created slippery roads and disrupted travel plans throughout the region. They even went so far as to have a hand in determining the 2011 Perham New Year's Babe, the first baby of the year born in the Perham Memorial Hospital and Home (PMHH).

On the early morning of Jan. 3, Justine and Nick Ostlie of Perham realized that Justine was starting to go into labor. There was only one problem - her preferred doctor was in Fargo, and the roads and travel conditions were still hazardous.

For some people, getting to their doctor might have been an important consideration. That wasn't the case for Justine.

"I made the decision that if it happened on Monday or later," she said, "I'd just do it in Perham. At that point, I didn't want to make that drive to Fargo, especially early in the morning."

With the help of Dr. Illene Reed, the on-call doctor at PMHH at the time the Ostlies arrived at the hospital, Justine gave birth to baby Gabriel, Perham's New Year's Babe, at 2:47 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 4.

Gabriel weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounches, and was 20 3/4 inches long at the time of his birth. Gabriel is Nick and Justine's first child.

For being the New Year's Babe, Justine, Nick and Gabriel were given a cart full of gifts and baby items donated by area businesses and merchants.

The Ostlie's nurse was Connie Richter, who is no stranger to New Years Babes. Richter has helped with the New Year's Babe for the last three years.

PMHH has run the New Year's Babe program for 18 years. Eileen Lehman, administrative assistant at PMHH, coordinates the program. PMHH delivers an average of about 100 babies a year.

Sponsors of the PMHH New Year's Babe program include:

Prairie Knoll Nursing Home, East Ottertail Pharmacy, Perham Memorial Hospital, Karvonen's Brand Source, Lund's, Heart of the Lakes Credit Union, Esser's, Back Porch, T.A. Gould Jeweler, Harold Overland Insurance, Zorbaz, Comet Theater, Willy T's Tavern and Grill, Perham Printing and Office Supply, Car Care Paradise, Second Hand Rose, Red Barn Green House, Richter's Men's Wear Sanford Health Clinics: Ottertail, Perham, New York Mills, State Farm Insurance, East Otter Tail Focus, Pine Harbor Nursing Home, Thrifty White Pharmacy and Gifts, The Wild Goose, Jean's The Right Plant Place, United Community Bank Perham and Frazee, Harvest Glen Nursing Home, Nadine's, JinHu Resturant Inc., East Ottertail Professional Childcare Association and Dean's Country Market.