CEDAR RAPIDS – Of all the babies born on Dec. 12, little Regina Marie Smith stakes a special claim to fame.
Regina was the twelfth child born to Jeanne and Mike Smith of Luzerne on 12/12/12.
“We were good with the 13th,” said Mike Smith, 48, citing his wife’s due date.
But labor was induced the day-before, and after the couple arrived at Mercy Medical Center at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, Regina finally made her appearance at 11:41 p.m.
“It was not a concern for us,” Mike said of having their daughter born before the calendar turned to Dec. 13. “But a lot of our friends were banking on it.”
“It will be an easy (birthday) for me to remember,” he added.
Looking ahead, Jeanne, 42, isn’t sure if Regina will be the couple’s last child.
“We’re open to what God has planned,” she said.
At 9 pounds, 6 ounces and 21 inches long, Regina was the fourth daughter born to the couple.
Her eight brothers and two of her sisters stopped by the hospital to see Regina for the first time Thursday.
Oldest sister Stacia, 21, was busy with two children of her own.
Mike is a product manager at Frontier Natural Products, while Jeanne home-schools their children.
Oldest son, Christian, 20, moved out on his own to study psychology at Kirkwood Community College.
“It’s quiet,” he said of life outside the family home.
Meals in their rural Luzerne home – a Benton County town of about 96 people – are eaten at a table with six chairs and a long bench. The family has a minivan, but often uses more than one vehicle.
Mike and Jeanne decided on Regina’s name together, but have another method devised for times when they don’t agree.
“We play Scrabble and the winner gets to pick a name,” Mike said with a grin. “To date, I haven’t won a game.”
The couple generally chooses names of saints and found the date of Regina’s birth to be significant – outside of its numerological interest – as the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Now second-youngest at 21-months-old, Veronica stroked her baby sister’s dark hair as the rest of the family patiently sat in their mother’s room at Mercy, where nearly all of them were born.
Jeshua, 17, Solomon, 15, Dominic, 13, Gerard, 11, Marcel, 9, Isadora, 7, Demetrius, 6, and Cassian, 4, all were fine with having another sister, though some had been hoping for another brother.
Grandmother Mary Kalisch of Cedar Rapids, Jeanne’s mother, said she was excited to see her 21st grandchild.
“I think it’s wonderful,” Kalisch said. “I always wanted a dozen, but I just had seven.”