JOPLIN, Mo. – The first baby of the new year, Sophie Xiong, arrived at 12:42 pm on January 1, 2024, at Freeman Hospital West. Sophie weighed 7 pounds and 0.5 ounces and measured 20.5 inches in length. Her parents, Christina Vang and Yengshi Xiong of Noel, are excited about their new arrival.
“I was in labor for more than 20 hours, so I didn’t know that she was the first baby of the year until they told me,” Christina said with a chuckle. “But she was definitely worth it.” Sophie is the couple’s first child.
Following tradition, the first baby born each year receives a special baby gift basket courtesy of Freeman Health System. Sophie will go home with a stuffed elephant and octopus and lots of onesies and socks.
Freeman Health System has provided maternity care to Joplin and surrounding communities for more than 95 years. As one of the busiest maternity centers in Missouri, Freeman Maternity Center features two obstetric surgery suites, board-certified obstetricians, certified nurse midwives, the region’s only board-certified perinatologist for high-risk pregnancies and three full-time neonatal nurse practitioners for sick and prematurely born infants. Designed with privacy and comfort in mind, Freeman Maternity Center features home-like birthing suites and private mom and baby rooms.