Newborn is 1st in new year |

Newborn is 1st in new year

Active parents excited to get daughter on skis, bike

Jack Weinstein

Leighton White watches as Valerie Kutansky holds their newborn daughter, Ayla Leahni White. Ayla was the first baby to be born at Yampa Valley Medical Center in 2010.

— As the first Steamboat Springs baby born in the new decade, it won't take long for Ayla Leahni White to hit the slopes.

While Ayla's dad, Leighton White, held his daughter wrapped tight in a pink blanket Sunday, her mom, Valerie Kutansky, joked that with a chariot they bought for her, she'll be at Steamboat Ski Area in about a month.

Valerie said being a first-time mom is good so far.

"It feels kind of surreal, but it's not scary," she said. "I haven't had any major freak outs, I don't think. … The hardest part is going to be finding skis to fit her."

Ayla, born at 10:46 a.m. Saturday, was the first baby born this year at Yampa Valley Medical Center. She weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces and was 19 inches long.

A low platelet count and high blood pressure Saturday forced doctors to try and induce Valerie two weeks before Ayla was due, Jan. 17. When that didn't work, they performed a cesarean section.

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"I didn't wake up that morning and expect to be a father," Leighton said. "The baby's been awesome. She really only cries when she's hungry. Everyone says the first 24 hours, they sleep through everything. I'm deluding myself into thinking that's how it will be."

Valerie and Ayla, who was quiet and kept her eyes closed, were doing well Sunday. Leighton, who had only held a baby once before Saturday, said Ayla was eating about every hour and a half and doing "all the regular things."

Despite not getting much sleep the previous couple days — Valerie had only slept 30 minutes the previous 36 hours — she and Leighton were in good spirits Sunday afternoon.

Before Ayla was born, Leighton and Valerie told people at the hospital they would name her Snow. Valerie said the shock from people who heard the little girl would be named Snow White was obvious, but it didn't stop them from joking around.

"It was funny how many people believed us," Valerie said. "They'd say, 'Oh, that's pretty.'"

The couple moved to Steamboat from Bend, Ore., in 2004. They're avid skiers and cyclists. For the past two years, Leighton, 46, a firefighter with Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue, has competed in the more than 2,700-mile Tour Divide mountain bike race, from Canada to New Mexico. Valerie, 30, hopes to compete in the 18 Hours of Fruita mountain bike race this spring.

They're excited to get Ayla involved in their outdoor pursuits, including jogs in her stroller, hiking and traveling.

"Anything that's exciting for us is going to be super cool to share with her," Valerie said.

Since Ayla was born, the new parents have had several visitors, including most of Sunday's Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue shift.

They've got just about everything they need for Ayla, Leighton said. Valerie said Ayla's been given some baby clothes passed along from several firefighters. And the grandparents, who Valerie said already have spoiled Ayla, are coming to visit soon.

Leighton said Valerie and Ayla — named for the heroine in the fiction novel, "The Clan of the Cave Bear," the first book in the 1980s "Earth's Children" series — would be able to go home today or Tuesday.

"I said last year was the best ever," Valerie said, "but I think it might be this year."