First York County baby of 2019 finally home after birth at 25 weeks

Liam McDannell, the first baby of 2019 born in York County, graduated from his neonatal intensive care stay at York Hospital and was sent home with his mother, Mary McDannell (left) and father, James Brown (right) on Tuesday, April 9.

More than three months after he was born at York Hospital, the first baby of the new year is finally home with his family.

Liam McDannell, now about 5½ pounds, was discharged from the neonatal intensive care unit about 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 9 — just a few days before his original due date of April 13, said hospital spokesman Ryan Cole.

"We’re definitely super excited that Liam is home," said his mother, Mary McDannell, who arranged a family dinner with her parents and grandparents to welcome him home.

"It’s so great because people get to see him," she said.

McDannell, 24, of Adams County, delivered her son via emergency cesarean section at 8:55 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 1, at York Hospital. He was the first baby born in 2019 in York County.

Liam was born at 25 weeks' gestation, 15 weeks earlier than full term, weighing only 1 pound, 10 ounces and measuring 12 inches long. He was immediately placed in the hospital's NICU.

More:York Hospital: First baby of 2019 'doing well' after being born at only 25 weeks

Cole said Liam's parents — McDannell and James Brown, 28, of Huntingdon County —would drive an hour each way from western Adams County to visit him almost every day, even after McDannell went back to work as a Biglerville High School English teacher.

McDannell said the last couple of months were very challenging but that the NICU nurses and doctors helped make the experience the best it could be for them.

During their visits to the NICU, she said, Liam would show his spunky personality, making funny faces and pulling on his wires and tubes. He had a Baby Einstein fishbowl that played music, so now he's "obsessed with music and nursery rhymes," she said.

Liam McDannell, the first baby of 2019 born in York County, on Jan. 1, was sent home with his family on Tuesday, April 9, days before his original intended due date of April 13.

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When they couldn't make it to the hospital, they'd use "angel eyes" — a camera placed over Liam's hospital bed — which they could log into from home to see how he was doing, Cole said.

McDannell said there are some follow-up doctor's appointments but no serious complications from the premature birth. 

"We’re really looking forward to watching Liam grow up," she said.