BY LIZ GOFF
Erna Sabovic rested peacefully in her mother’s arms on Jan. 1, content with her standing as the millennium baby.
Mayor Giuliani (l.) presenting Queens’ first millennium baby girl Erna with a “Property of New York” shirt.
Erna made her appearance at Elmhurst Hospital Center precisely at two seconds after the ball dropped at midnight, giving Queens bragging rights to the city’s first baby of the 21st Century. But as Erna and her doctors will attest, it’s not so much when you arrive, as how you get here.
Doctors at Elmhurst said Erna was naturally labored, and delivered naturally – without the use of forceps or a “vacuum.” When doctors recorded the baby’s birth at 12:00:02 a.m., she was “fully delivered,” said Dario Centorcelli, Elmhurst’s director of External Affairs.
That’s why Erna’s family and doctors are disputing a claim by officials at St. Vincent’s Hospital on Staten Island, that they have the millennium baby.
Rebekah Yi arrived at St. Vincent’s at 12:00:01 a.m., doctors said. And that makes her the first baby.
But the folks at Elmhurst said doctors who delivered Rebekah marked her arrival at the moment her head crowned – not after they helped the delivery along with forceps.
“The baby wasn’t fully delivered at 12:00:01,” doctors said. “Erna was fully delivered at the time her birth was recorded.”
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani stopped by Elmhurst to visit with Erna and her family on Jan. 1 where he welcomed the newborn and squashed the controversy by welcoming both babies as the “first” of the century.
Erna’s mother Remziga Sabovic, 27, and father Duljko Kandic, 29, were elated just to welcome their seven pound, eight ounce daughter (she was 20 inches long).
Remziga Sabovic arrived in the United States nine months ago from Bosnia seeking a better life and freedom from the dangers of war for herself and her baby. Kandic has been in the United States for five-and-a-half years. He emigrated from Bosnia to escape the atrocities of that country’s internal conflict. Kandic lives in Astoria and works as a carpenter in Manhattan.
No one was sure, as of Jan. 2, of the color of Erna’s eyes, because she still had them shut to the controversy that surrounded her birth. Erna’s mom said that if her newborn daughter could talk she would have just one thing to say.
“She would say, ‘I’m first,’” Remziga stated.