New Year's baby 2020

Ava Grace Stamper holds onto her mom’s finger while in her arms at Princeton Community Hospital on Thursday. Ava was the first local baby born in the new year.

PRINCETON — She wasn’t born on New Year’s Day, but being born the day after still qualifies her as Mercer County’s first baby for the year 2020.

Ava Grace Stamper was born 10:19 a.m. Thursday at Princeton Community Hospital to Noah Stamper and Breanna Mills of Athens. She weighed 8 pounds and 11 ounces at birth.

“We pretty much knew she was going to be born today because how late it was when she was induced yesterday,” Stamper said.

Ava Grace isn’t the first member of the family to be born close to a major holiday. 

“I was born Dec. 17,” her father said, adding that this date didn’t make getting both birthday and Christmas gifts a problem. “You get everything on Christmas, so you still make out pretty good.”

Mills relaxed while members of the family took turns holding Ava Grace.

“She’s way bigger than I thought she would be, for sure,” Mills said. “I knew she would be big, but not that big. She was almost 9 pounds”

Besides bigger than expected, Ava Grace arrived in the world sooner than expected.

“I wasn’t supposed to have her until Jan. 20,” Mills stated. “She was gaining about a pound a week.”

Being a little bigger than expected means that Ava Grace could use some bigger clothes a bit sooner than expected.

“She can’t wear newborn clothes anymore,” Stamper said, smiling. “Well, she never got to wear newborn.”

“We need a size bigger,” Mills added.

Since Ava Grace’s birthday is so close to Christmas, her family might have to celebrate her birthday on Jan. 2. They could let her do the same thing her father does to make up for the fact his birthday is so close to Christmas, too.

“I open a Christmas present early,” he said.

Ava Grace’s grandmothers are Misty Stamper and Felecia Hall, and her grandfather is J.R. Mills, her parents said.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Recommended for you