Nelson New Year’s Baby arrives with snowfall

The 2017 Kootenay Lake Hospital’s New Year’s Baby was born on Thursday, Jan. 5.

Rikka Gabriel was born at 9:47 a.m. on Jan. 5 at Kootenay Lake Hospital

Rikka Gabriel was born at 9:47 a.m. on Jan. 5 at Kootenay Lake Hospital

Her name means snowflake in Japanese.

The first baby born at Nelson’s Kootenay Lake Hospital this year, to parents Kumi Osada and Tomas Gabriel, arrived at 9:47 a.m on Thursday morning.

Her name is Rikka.

“When we first got to the hospital, it wasn’t snowing,” Gabriel told the Star, after greeting his newborn daughter and returning to work at the Outer Clove restaurant downtown.

“But then, when Kumi was beginning to give birth, it starting snowing outside. Then afterwards it seemed like the snow stopped and everything seemed to settle.”

It was a relatively calm process, he said.

“When Rikka came out they put her on my wife’s chest, and everything had gone smoothly, the doctors were relaxed. Everyone was calm and happy. We shrugged and said ‘that was perfect and easy’.”

They were informed shortly after that they’d beaten a couple to the New Year’s Baby spot by only half an hour.

Rikka is Gabriel’s third daughter, and Osada’s second, joining older sisters Ibuki and Payton. And Gabriel figures it’s only a matter of time before she’s snowboarding up at Whitewater Ski Resort.

“My wife is super into snowboarding, so I’m sure she’s just waiting to take her out on the hill,” he said.

Osada said her newborn daughter has a pretty Zen demeanor so far.

“She’s very healthy, she’s not crying very much. It was very quick. After 45 minutes, I had her. I’m so happy.”