First baby of 2018 also gets jump-start on college

best family portrait
It was near midnight on Dec. 31 as Katelyn and Matthew North entered the final stages of her 24-hour labor when they learned they were in the lead.

Sure enough, Benjamin Matthew North was Salem Health’s first newborn to greet 2018 at 2:09 a.m. weighing eight pounds, nine ounces.

“He was born on his exact due date, everything went smooth, and everyone here was amazing,” Katelyn said, laughingly noting that three of her Family Birth Center nurses from Labor & Delivery and Mother/Baby units were named Kristin – plus Hannah and Alison.

“I tend to have anxiety issues, so I can’t tell you how much I appreciated them,” she said. “I was sad when each of them went off their shift – but then the next nurse would be just as good!”

The couple knew they were having a boy, so they named him Benji because Katelyn’s grandparents were the first ones they told.

“My grandfather loves the name Benjamin,” she said.

“It also sounds really good with Matthew,” Matthew said. “It was great to rub her tummy and call him by name before he was born.”

Benji gets first Oregon College Savings Plan deposit

Being Salem Health’s “first family” comes with special honors. The Norths got a large gift basket from the FBC, plus gifts from another first family — a touching annual tradition since 1998, when that family’s son was the first FBC baby born.

New this year was a gift from the Oregon College Savings Plan. OCSP launched a fund to help parents save for college early. Starting Jan. 1, 2018, when an account is opened for a child before their first birthday, $25 is automatically contributed to the account within three months. To kick off the incentive, the OCSP surprised Benji’s family with $529. The reason behind that special amount: the OCSP is qualified under Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code.