Traverse City Record-Eagle

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April 11, 2012

12-pound baby actually premature

TRAVERSE CITY — Big things may be in store for Ayara Hebel.

The newborn daughter of Crista and Thomas "Bob" Hebel, of Traverse City, weighed in at birth at 12 pounds, 3 ounces. And she was four weeks premature.

"They did tell me that the ultrasound could be 1½ pounds off either way," said Crista Hebel, who delivered the baby by cesarean section on Sunday at Munson Medical Center. "My jaw dropped when I heard that number in the operating room, but I knew that was in the realm of possibility."

Hebel, 26, originally planned for a midwife birth but changed her mind after tests showed the baby was unusually large. Before she could make arrangements for a c-section near her May 5 due date, she went into labor while being treated for dehydration at the hospital.

Ayara on Tuesday was in the neonatal intensive care unit, where she was doing "very well, excelling at every goal they give her," Hebel said. "Everyone in the NIC-U tells me it's very hard to remember she's a preemie because she's so large."

Ayara is the couple's third child. They have 14-month-old twin sons who, combined, weighed a pound less at birth than their sister.

"This isn't because of any kind of medical condition," said Bob Hebel, 38. "She's just a very large child. She's got the physical characteristics of her mother and she looks very Polynesian, like a princess. She's dark and she's plump and her knuckles are like dimples."

The doctor who delivered the baby, Debra Kurtz of Grand Traverse Women's Clinic, said Ayara set her personal biggest baby record.

"Hers was the largest baby I've ever delivered, and that was in 21 years of practice," Kurtz said.

Ayara skipped two diaper sizes and won't fit into any of the newborn clothing the couple received at a baby shower, Crista Hebel said.

"She's already wearing size 2 diapers," she said.

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