NEW CASTLE — Casandra Irene McCloud wasn’t just a New Year’s baby.
She was a New Year’s miracle.
The infant daughter of Volant area residents Jeanette and David McCloud arrived at 4:55 p.m. Thursday in Jameson Hospital, making her Lawrence County’s first baby of 2014. She’s also the first child for her parents who, at ages 39 and 43, respectively, have been waiting over 14 years for her.
“We had actually kind of given up (on having children),” Jeanette McCloud said. “We got married in 1999 and we wanted to have kids, but nothing was happening. I knew I had a thyroid problem, and then I found out that that was a huge reason why nothing was happening (because an improperly functioning thyroid can affect a woman’s ability to ovulate).
“We pretty much had accepted that. We wanted kids, but we figured it would never happen; this was just the way we were going to live our lives. Everybody else was having kids and we weren’t, but I wasn’t going to get obsessed over it. I didn’t want to go through fertility (treatments) and have things not work and get even more stressed out. So we just left it in God’s hand’s – and voila! She’s a blessing from God.”
When the couple learned Jeanette was pregnant, it was hard for everyone –including themselves – to believe.
“We were like Holy Moley, let’s go get some more pregnancy tests to see if this is real,” Jeanette said. “I had to go to a high-risk specialist, between my thyroid and my age. When I went to my OB-GYN, Dr. (Kelly) Palumbo in New Castle, she said ‘I don’t know how you got pregnant.’
“And when I went to the high-risk specialist, who is an assistant professor at Ohio State, he said he’s been in practice 30 years and he’d never seen a thyroid number that high of anybody who’d gotten pregnant.”
Casandra – Cassie, for short – is named for Jeanette’s mother, Sandra – “That’s why only the one ‘s,’ ” Jeanette explained – as well as her grandmother and mother-in-law, both of whom have the middle name Irene.
Jeanette’s parents are deceased, but Cassie – who checked in at 6 pounds, 8 ½ ounces and 20 inches long -- still has one set of grandparents in Shenango Township residents Howard and Marilyn McCloud. Her father is employed by Firefighters Sales and Service, while her mom is a primitive doll artist, “although I haven’t done any work lately because we were expecting Cassie.”
Jeanette admitted to being surprised that Cassie, having not arrived until Jan. 2, was the first baby of the year to be born in the county. But the best surprise by far is that the couple’s long-awaited first child is now actually in their arms.
“I tell everybody now, unless you don’t have a uterus, don’t ever give up, because you never know what’s going to happen,” Jeanette said. “I don’t care what your problem is. You gotta have faith.”