HACKENSACK, N.J. — Thirteen minutes past the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, as millions of Americans celebrated the birth of the big 20-20, one Paterson couple celebrated the birth of their firstborn baby.  

Claret and Jorge Sepulveda welcomed their son, Ezekiel Eli Sepulveda, on January 1 at 12:13 a.m. at the Donna A. Sanzari Women’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. Ezekiel, who weighed 9 pounds, 5 ounces, was the first baby of nine to be born at the hospital on New Year’s Day and is one of 31 to be born from the Hackensack Meridian Health network around the state that day.   

Ezekiel’s mom Claret said the doctors had considered a C-section birth after spending three hours in labor before her son arrived naturally. 

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“They were prepping for surgery, and then he came,” said Claret. “We were blessed with a great nurse who was a coach for me.”

And the proud parents had the perfect name for him. According to TheBump.com, Ezekiel is a biblical name meaning “strength of God,” and the name of the prophet who wrote the Old Testament bearing his name. 

“It is an honor and a privilege to welcome these 31 babies into the world on the first day of the new year and the new decade,” said Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Having the first baby born in four New Jersey counties is a testament of the exceptional quality of care our team members provide to our parents.”