New Year's Baby

Sally Keenan, 4, holds her newborn brother, Noah, on Thursday morning at St. John’s Medical Center. Noah, the second child of parents Peter and Deb Keenan, was the first baby born at the hospital in 2019.

The day Noah Keenan came into the world began at a chilly 18 degrees below zero.

Noah was almost born in 2018. He was due Dec. 31, but contractions hadn’t really started on New Year’s Eve. So the Keenans did what many families in Jackson do — they headed to Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

The mom-to-be rode the gondola and enjoyed time around a fire with her mother, Beverly Allen, who was in town for the birth. Her husband, Peter Keenan, 42, and their daughter, Sally, 4, skied.

“People looked at me and said, ‘Wow, you look like you’re supposed to have a baby,’” Deb Keenan said. “Yeah, I look like I was supposed to have a baby yesterday.”

The Keenans have a long history in Jackson and are well known around town. They moved to the valley in 2001; Peter works as an electrical engineer for Lower Valley Energy. Deb is a Realtor at Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates.

On Jan. 1 Deb Keenan was still in a holding pattern.

“Waiting to have a baby is like waiting for a pot of water to boil,” she said.

By the wee hours of Jan. 2, contractions came. At 4 a.m., the couple headed to St. John’s Medical Center. They had the foresight to bring a little gift for Sally to open herself and a gift to give her new brother.

“We were very prepared this time around,” Deb Keenan said.

Deb Keenan said they had excellent care and that the staff are “so awesome here.” It didn’t hurt that they had the honor of being the first baby born at the hospital in 2019.

“I didn’t think they were serious,” she said. “I thought they were joking. We were the only one here.”

The family was awarded a basket full of gifts that Keenan compared to a “community baby shower.”

No longer an only child

Born at 9 pounds, 10 ounces, the newest addition to the Keenan family had a smooth, unmedicated delivery.

Kennan chose to give birth to the larger-than-average baby without pain medication because she did so with her first child, who came in at 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

“This was super pain,” Deb Keenan said. “Maybe because he’s the size of a first-grader.”

Keenan called her son’s birth “such a miracle.” She’d had two miscarriages and didn’t think she and her husband would have another child.

“It’s a testimony to God’s goodness,” she said.

Now, Sally’s no longer an only child. She told her mom she wanted to help take care of her little brother and was holding him, swaddled in blankets, when the News&Guide arrived at the hospital.

Sally can already see the family resemblance. When asked if she and Noah looked alike, she said, “I think so.”

“We look pretty much alike right now,” she said.

His older, wiser big sister has a lot to teach Noah and, in a position of authority, emphasizes her age. She’s not 4 — she’s 4 1/2.

Loved ones surrounded the Keenans on Jan. 3. Deb Keenan called the joyous gathering the “icing on the cake.”

“This is the gift,” she said. “Sitting here with friends and family. I’m filled with gratitude.”

Contact Kylie Mohr at 732-7079, or @JHNGschools.

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