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Willmar, Minn., family welcomes first baby of new year at Rice Hospital

Diondre Lenz was born a week early and was the first baby born this year at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. His mother, Crystal, gave birth to Diondre, her third child, at 9:26 a.m. Tuesday. He missed sharing a birthday with his sister by three days. Submitted

In addition to being a happy, healthy baby boy, newborn Diondre Thomas Lenz is also a special one: He was the first baby born in the New Year at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Parents Thomas and Crystal Lenz of Willmar welcomed their third child on Tuesday at 9:26 a.m. With a due date of Jan. 7, Diondre was born nearly a week early.

“We kind of expected he would be early,” Crystal Lenz said. “We were ready to meet him.”

This is the couple’s second baby in a little more than a year. Youngest daughter, Bianca, was born Dec. 28, 2011. For a while, they worried that Diondre might be born on the same day.

“I’m glad they won’t share a birthday,” Crystal Lenz said. “He even waited through the weekend, so we could have her first birthday party.”

At just a year apart, Crystal Lenz hopes brother and sister will be close. The Lenzes also have a 9-year-old daughter, Sierra.

“The oldest one already loves him so much,” Crystal Lenz said. “She’s just a big sister to them all. She’s a big helper, too. She just sits and rocks him all day.”

When the Lenzes arrived at Rice Hospital, the nurses informed them they would be having the first baby of the New Year. They were surprised by the unexpected news.

“We thought it was kind of exciting,” Crystal Lenz said. “That doesn’t happen very often. But we were just very excited to meet him, no matter when he came.”

The couple decided not to learn the sex of the baby beforehand. Even though they had both boys and girls names picked out, they waited a few hours before settling on Diondre Thomas.

“He’ll go by Dre for short,” Crystal Lenz said. “We wanted something simple that people would know how to pronounce. We decided to spell it like that so all the kids would have an ‘i’ as the second letter in their name. And, of course, Thomas is my husband’s name.”

After being pregnant for the majority of the last two years, Crystal Lenz says she’s looking forward to taking some time to recuperate.

“I’m excited to go out with my friends again and wear ‘normal’ clothes,” she said. “I’m also excited to hold my little girl and not have her crawl on my stomach.”

The parents brought Diondre home from the hospital Thursday, and so far it’s been going well. Crystal Lenz says Diondre is “mellow, happy and very content,” but she knows the family will still have to make some adjustments with two babies in the house.

“It’s going to be a little crazy and chaotic, I know,” she said. “But it’s perfect. We wouldn’t have it any other way. He’s the little brother the girls have wanted and the son we’ve been waiting for. He’s the cherry on top of this family.”

Ashley White

Ashley White is the community content coordinator for the West Central Tribune. Follow her on Twitter @Ashley_WCT.

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