Baby girl arrives Jan. 1

Brookings Health System photo: Philippa Taylor Escondrillas Smith arrived at 6:06 p.m. on New Year’s Day, making her the first baby of 2021 born at Brookings Health System. Holding Philippa is her father, Taylor Smith, and her mother, Macarena Escondrillas.

Philippa Taylor Escondrillas Smith is New Year’s baby at Brookings Health

BROOKINGS – It’s a girl for the New Year’s Baby 2021!

Philippa Taylor Escondrillas Smith was born at 6:06 p.m. Jan. 1 at Brookings Health System to become Brookings County’s New Year’s Baby. She weighed 8 pounds, one ounce and measured 19.5 inches long.

Philippa is the daughter of Macarena Escondrillas and Taylor Smith of Brookings. 

“It’s been a really nice experience so far with the health care and with the gifts and the well wishes. We’re just very happy, very thankful,” Taylor said. 

“And now, just looking forward to the no sleep for a couple months,” he joked.

Philippa has one brother, Alejandro, 2. 

Grandparents are Luis Escondrillas and Macarena Luna de Toledo, both of Spain, Dale Smith of Hartford and Brenda Smith of Crooks. Great-grandparents are Doug and Linda Lund and Lloyd and Phyllis Smith.

They chose the name Philippa because they liked it.

“In my case, I really like that name from the writer (Philippa Gregory),” Macarena said.

Macarena was due on Jan. 12. She’d had Alejandro a little early, so Philippa’s early arrival wasn’t a surprise. 

“We were ready for it,” Taylor said.

Even though Philippa’s early arrival didn’t catch them off guard, the fact she was the New Year’s Baby was a surprise.

“I didn’t even think about it, to be honest,” Macarena said.

“We were both kind of taken aback. I guess I didn’t realize it was New Year’s,” Taylor said. 

With no other babies coming, little Philippa had the field to herself.

“We got to the hospital and one of the nurses told us …” Taylor said.

“’You may have the first baby of the year.’ We were like, ‘Oh, OK,’” finished Macarena.

Being pregnant in the age of COVID-19 lent some anxiety to the third trimester of the pregnancy, Taylor said.

“I think we were a little concerned,” Taylor said. 

“To catch the virus, maybe, during the third trimester, that worried me,” Macarena said.

“But at the hospital, not at all, because they are so good and so careful. You can tell they take a lot of precautions,” she added.

“We had a great experience at the hospital, at the Brookings Health System, the birth center. They were just so amazing, the nurses,” Macarena said.

Now that they’ve got Philippa at home, Macarena has a new set of worries.

“Now I am a little worried, I guess, because she’s so small and I know … there’s gonna be people who want to see her and obviously we need to be more careful,” she said.

Other than guarding their new little one from COVID, she’s doing well.

“She seems pretty active; she’s moving quite a bit,” Taylor said.

“She doesn’t cry much; she seems so good,” Macarena said.

Both were touched by all the gifts their daughter received as the first baby born in the new year and say it’s a reflection of the town’s thoughtfulness.

The New Year’s Baby and her parents received a variety of toys, baby products and gift certificates of cash and services from local businesses and organizations.

“I mean, nobody has to do this,” Taylor said. “It just kind of reminds you of the community aspect, what we have here.”

And they appreciate it even more because of their pasts.

“We’re both kind of travelers,” Taylor said. 

Both came to Brookings in 2012. Taylor grew up in Hartford, joined the Marine Corps and now works for 3M. Macarena grew up in Cartagena, Spain, earned a master’s degree at West Virginia University and works at South Dakota State University. 

Taylor said he didn’t plan on staying in the area when he first came.

“But we met, and we really love this town. We really love the people, the community,” Taylor said.

Contact Jodelle Greiner at [email protected]

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