First local baby of 2014

ALPENA – Brandon and Ashley Ross said they were surprised when their first child decided to come early, but they were even more surprised when they found out he was the first baby at Alpena Regional Medical Center in 2014. Harper Ray Ross was born Jan. 2, at 3:40 p.m. He weighed six pounds, eight ounces, was 20 1/2 inches long, and was delivered by Dr. Brendan Conboy.

“We weren’t expecting him to come so early,” Ashley said. “He was four days early. I was scheduled to be induced, but he was ready.”

The new parents said they were at home when Ashley started labor the night before, and made their way to the hospital as it grew more intense.

“By the time I got here to the hospital around seven, to when he was born … it was around eight hours of labor,” she said. “He was bigger than we thought he would be. The last time I measured, I had measured small, so that’s why they wanted to induce me, but he had a different plan.”

When the couple found out Harper was the new year’s baby, they were very excited and surprised.

“We were surprised no one had been born yet,” Ashley said. “He’s truly an awesome blessing and we’re both very, very excited.”

Ross said she and her husband were high school sweethearts, have been married for five years and had been hoping for an addition to the family.

“We had been trying for a long time, so we were excited,” Ross said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better pregnancy, labor and delivery. It went great.”

Ross had her husband and best friend with her for support in the delivery room, and said the nurses told her everything went well during the delivery. Her mother works at ARMC and was able to be there just before Harper was born. Ross said grandparents Cyndi Hutchinson, Phil Dion, and Michael and Darbie Ross were excited to welcome their new grandson.

“We are from Alpena,” Ross said. “We have a lot of family here, and a lot of boys in the family.”

The couple said they are very excited to bring Harper home and get him into his room, which is themed with woodland animals and painted green, and are thankful for the gifts and flowers from the hospital, friends and family.

The Ross family received a basket filled with gifts put together by medical center employees and hospital auxiliary volunteers that included a hand-crocheted blanket, a teddy bear, outfits, diapers and many other things for baby Harper. The family also received a Pure Wash laundry system from Pure Products International in Ossineke.

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.