Christine Ravago, right, of Severna Park, Md., holds her son, Sterling, born at 8:43 a.m. Monday with surrogate mother Alyssa Johnson of Eau Claire. Sterling was the first baby of the new year born at Eau Claire hospitals.

Mayo Clinic Health System delivered the first baby of 2018 early Monday in Eau Claire as parents Christine Ravago and her husband, Simon Bone, of Severna Park, Md., sped across the country to be there for the birth of their son.

Ravago and Bone have been trying to have a child for years without success. According to a Mayo news release, the pair were connected with surrogate mother Alyssa Johnson of Eau Claire over a year ago, which paved the way for their son Sterling’s arrival.

Born at 7 pounds and 20½ inches, baby Sterling was born at 8:43 a.m. via cesarean section. The baby arrived 20 days before his due date after high blood pressure concerns sent Johnson into an early delivery.

“I was hoping we could wait to deliver until at least one of them could get here,” Johnson said in the news release.

In Maryland, Ravago and Bone received the call that Johnson was in labor just as they were wrapping up their New Year’s Eve plans.

“I had just come home from a football tailgate,” Ravago said.

From that point, she and Bone were trying to “work out how we were gonna make it over to Sterling.” Ravago caught the last flight out of Washington, D.C., Sunday, arriving at the hospital around 3:30 a.m., making it in time for Sterling’s birth. Her husband made the trip by car and was expected to arrive today.

“The timing wasn’t planned, so I was a bit frazzled,” Ravago said in the news release. “I caught the last plane out, and it was delayed. I was anxious and excited at the same time.”

Ravago said she is thankful and excited to be with her son. She said she is grateful for the Johnson family and their commitment.

“It’s been a long journey,” Ravago said.

No babies have been born yet this year at HSHS Sacred Heart Hospital, spokeswoman Shannon Portell said.

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