Newborn Luca Picarella has the usual statistics associated with his birth -- time of delivery 8:09 a.m., weight 8 pounds 9 ounces, length 20.75 inches. But there's one more number that will follow him for life: His was the 100,000th delivery at Stony Brook University Hospital.
Dad Mike Picarella of Rocky Point says that when a nurse manager approached him in the hallway to talk to him about his baby, who was born via scheduled Caesarean section on Monday morning, he "got nervous for a second," thinking something was wrong medically. Instead, the nurse said, "Congratulations, your child is the 100,000th delivery."
"At first I laughed, I thought it was a gag," said Mike, 32, who works for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. "I was shocked."
The hospital is planning a celebration Thursday for Luca's dad and mom, Katie, 31, and his sister, Gianna, 5. Thursday hospital brass will speak about the milestone and present Luca with gifts from community organizations and businesses, including scholarship money. Luca's mom will receive a spa package and Stony Brook swag items.
"To me, it's exciting," said Dr. Todd Griffin, chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital. "It really shows the impact we have on the community."
The first delivery at Stony Brook was in May 1980 and today nearly 4,000 babies are born each year at the hospital -- at the rate of about 10 to 20 a day. Even if a multiple birth takes place, it is counted by the hospital as one delivery.
Stony Brook invited the first baby born at the hospital in 1980, Jeffrey Solomon, a resort cook who lives in Florida, to fly to Stony Brook for Thursday's celebration. He is coming with his father, Bob, and stepmother, Hope. His mom, Deborah, is deceased. Jeffrey said he hopes to hold Luca. "If they let me," he said. "It's up to the mom and dad."
Mike Picarella said he and his wife knew about the countdown -- or rather, count up -- to the 100,000 delivery because the hospital has been updating its followers on its Stony Brook Medicine Facebook page all summer, and a friend told them about it. "She was joking around with us and said, 'Have you heard about the countdown? Wouldn't it be funny if your child is the baby?' "
Katie Picarella was originally scheduled for a C-section this Friday because Gianna had been an emergency C-section when she was born at Stony Brook in 2009, Michael said. But the doctors had an opening in the schedule on Monday and at the couple's most recent obstetric appointment they agreed to move up the birth to Monday. "If we never made that switch, none of this would be going on," Mike Picarella said.
Katie Picarella was resting Tuesday in her hospital room and asked that media not interview her. However, she did have this to say: "I'm in love with my son, and that's all that matters to me at this point."
Added Mike's mom, Luann Picarella of Port Jefferson Station: "I know this is big hoopla for the hospital, but it's just normal parents, having a baby and going home."