The first baby born in Crow Wing County on New Year's Day will not likely be the last for the happy parents of the newborn delivered on the national holiday.
After more than seven hours of labor that began the morning of Monday, Dec. 31, Tara Fries' newest addition to her growing family is a girl, the fifth. Fries was already a mother of four girls.
The 36-year-old mom welcomed Cota Rayne Fries to the world at 4:28 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, at Essentia Health-St. Joseph's Medical Center in Brainerd.
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Aitkin mother delivers first baby of the new year in Crow Wing County
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"We chose the name 'Cota' because it was the first two letters of each of our names put together," Fries said about the newborn's father, 27-year-old Cody Holtzleicer.
The 7-pound, 4-ounce baby was later embraced warmly by her four older sisters: Taylor, 15, Shelby, 12, Kylie, 9, and Marley, 7. Their mother went into labor about 9 a.m. Monday.
"Originally, her due date wasn't until the 13th of January, and all of my kids have been overdue, so I didn't think we were going to have her," Fries said Wednesday from her hospital room.
"But then it did cross my mind, 'Oh, what if she is the first baby born New Year's Day (in the county),' and other people would make comments. Being as she is the first, it's all still pretty cool, it's kind of special."
She and the newborn's father, a hockey player, have been a couple for two years and call Aitkin home. The baby girl is their first child together.
"It was my most difficult. I was worried that I was going to have a C-section, but we made it work," she said.
The baby's parents said the newborn was a planned pregnancy who just arrived earlier in the world than expected.
"The sisters were hoping for a boy ... but we're pretty pleased with her. ... She's very healthy," her mom said.
Big sister Taylor Fries said and chuckled, "It's exciting, and it's definitely a big change ... because it's been seven years since we had a baby in the house."
Holtzleicer, who hails from Crosby, said he could foresee a lot of free baby-sitting by the older siblings in their near future.
Families can expect to spend between $12,350 and nearly $14,000 a year, on average, to raise a child, according to a report released last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"And I know for sure she's going to be a pro athlete or something. ... This is my first kid, so I'm pretty excited," he said.
Fries said she has more patience as a mother, now that she's older and already a mom to several young girls.
"I've learned a lot from these four girls," she said. "And I just hope that she gets to live the life she wants-that she's happy and safe."
As for Fries' advice for families raising many girls?
"Cover your ears because they scream a lot," she said half-jokingly. "And have patience, lots of patience, and hope for no hair-pulling."
She also said it was a possibility her family may grow further still with another child.
"I'm not going to rule it out," she said.
Holtzleicer said, "I think we will."