Decker Matthew Koenen was born Jan. 2, 2019 at 3:55 p.m.

The son of Derek and Stephanie Koenen of Redwood Falls entered the world weighing six pounds, four ounces and was 20 inches long.

Decker was the first baby born at Carris Health - Redwood in 2019, but, according to Derek and Stephanie, he wasn’t supposed to be born until later in the month.

“His due date was Jan. 21,” said Stephanie, adding Decker came at 37 weeks and two days.

Granted, when the Koenens found out when their second child was due they thought there was that possibility he could come early.

After all their 20-month-old daughter, Maisy, came early, too. 

Stephanie, who is a 2009 graduate of Redwood Valley High School, and Derek, a Marshall High School graduate, met through a friend of a friend. They were married April 9, 2016 in St. Petersburg, Fla.

When Stephanie went into labor and arrived at the local hospital they soon found out that Decker had the chance to be the first baby born in the new year.

While Jan. 2 is just another date on the calendar, Derek said for Decker knowing that he will forever be recognized as the first baby born at the hospital in Redwood Falls in 2019 will be a cool memory.

“It will always be a special birthday for him,” added Stephanie.

The family all returned to their Redwood Falls home Jan. 4, and the adjustment to a new family life began.

“He has been a very good baby,” said Stephanie.

She added their daughter has definitely embraced the idea of having a little brother, adding Maisy has been very loving of her new sibling.

The Koenens came back to the area in 2014 and opted to live in Redwood Falls, because it gave them the opportunity to be close to family, including grandparents Dean and Brenda Koenen who live in Marshall and Patrick and Peggy Bruflat who live in Redwood Falls.

Derek and Stephanie took some time off from work to help with the adjustment, and Derek, who works in sales at KLGR Radio, said he will be going back after he feels a new normal has been established. Stephanie will take a little more time off from her role as a social worker for Southwest Health and Hum-an Services giving her more time to bond with Decker.

Neither of them would say they planned to return to the area where they grew up, but Derek said in the end extended family became more important in the final decision about where they would raise their family.

Derek and Stephanie wanted to express their appreciation to Dr. David Danielson, and Stephanie said she was very happy to have him caring for their family.

“I was very happy to have Dr. Danielson for both of my deliveries,” said Stephanie, adding that was very important for her.

They added Decker, and their whole family, was very well cared for by the entire staff at Carris Health - Redwood.

“The nurses did a fantastic job,” said Derek.

The support of the community for the young Koenen family was also felt in the number of gifts they received simply because Decker arrived as the first baby of the new year.

“I don’t think that is something you would get in a bigger community,” said Derek.

Although it may be some time before Decker fully understands what it means to be the first baby of the new year at Carris Health - Redwood, some day Derek and Stephanie will have a fun story to tell him about the day he was born.