‘It’s so special to have him celebrated like this’: Santa Rosa couple welcomes Sonoma County’s first baby of 2023

Melissa and Dante Rossi welcomed their fourth child at 12:27 a.m. New Year’s Day at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. The baby is the first child to be born in 2023 in Sonoma County.|

Melissa Rossi, 31, sat breathlessly early Sunday ‒ waiting for her husband to tell her what they’d both been wanting to know since learning they were pregnant with their fourth child.

“It’s a boy,” her husband, Dante Rossi, 29, said, as he kissed her.

The youngest and newest Rossi became the first baby to be born in 2023 in Sonoma County. Arriving at 12:27 a.m. Sunday at Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, he weighed in at a healthy 7-pounds, 5-ounces and was 21.25 inches long.

His parents, who introduced the infant to a Press Democrat reporter and photographer Sunday afternoon, said they were still deciding on his name — two were written on the medical board in their room: “Carlo/or Leo!”

So focused on learning the sex of their fourth child, the Santa Rosa couple didn’t even consider their baby’s time of birth.

It wasn’t until Melissa Rossi’s head began to clear that she remembered the New Year’s Eve glasses her nurses had been wearing throughout the delivery. She then flashed on another nurse who’d quickly tapped her knee between her contractions and wished her, “Happy New Year!”

“It’s so special to have him celebrated like this,” Melissa Rossi said, adding that they are happy he’ll grow up having fireworks on his birthday.

In recognition of their youngest child’s first place arrival, the Rossis received gift baskets with items such as blankets and pillows from both the nursing staff and the Miss Sonoma County organization.

Their son’s nearest competition, a baby girl, was born a couple hours later at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Santa Rosa. Winter Rose Traveller, was welcomed by Margaret Gomes and Sean Traveller, hospital officials said. Winter Rose weighed 7-pounds, 4 ounces and was about 20 inches long.

The Rossis are hoping to decide on a name for their youngest son by the time they leave the hospital on Monday.

They can’t seem to break the tie between the two possibilities because their kids are also split on the decision.

“He evened out the playing field,” Melissa Rossi said Sunday afternoon, adding that her 2-year-old son is excited to finally have a “little buddy.”

Melissa Rossi initially went to the hospital Friday for some abdominal pain. She said she told her husband and kids she’d be back home soon.

Then as she waited to see the doctor, she began having contractions and doctors determined she was dilated. She texted her husband — she would be staying at the hospital.

Dante Rossi grabbed their already packed bags, picked up some snacks, including a Gardetto’s mix, a cup of pineapple, sour Jolly Rancher gummies and Fiji water, and was at the hospital about an hour after his wife arrived.

The next day, they waited. They tried to induce labor by bouncing on an exercise ball and walking a lot down the hospital hallways.

They passed the time by betting with family members on certain aspects of the birth, including the sex, the time of birth and the baby’s weight.

Dante Rossi’s mother guessed closest to the actual time of birth, while Melissa Rossi’s father guessed the baby’s weight to the exact ounce.

Melissa Rossi said even though she has had three other kids, she has never felt like a “pro,” despite people at the hospital calling her one.

However, she felt that this time she was able to go more with the flow and just focus on having a happy baby. “You just feel a lot less nervous,” she said.

“It’s just as special as the first,” she added. “It never loses its luster.”

You can reach Staff Writer Madison Smalstig at madison.smalstig@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @madi.smals.

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