Massapequa resident Jacqueline Rodriguez got two surprises on New Year's Day.
Her newborn daughter, due Jan. 14, made an early appearance -- and became the first baby born on Long Island in 2014.
The 8-pound, 41/2-ounce girl, named Pamela, was born at 12:22 a.m. at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where Rodriguez, 30, recovered from the birth, surrounded by family.
Through a translator, Rodriguez said she was happy and excited that her daughter was the first born on Long Island this year.
"Most importantly, the baby is healthy," Pamela's father, Enerio Almonte, 42, said through a translator.
Nearly 3,000 babies are born at Good Samaritan every year, but the hospital has rarely delivered the first baby of the year.
Andrea Miller, nurse-educator in obstetrics at Stony Brook University Medical Center -- which delivered its first baby of the year 11 minutes after Pamela's birth -- said sometimes women who begin labor on New Year's Eve joke about having the first baby of the new year.
Mostly, though, the new parents are more interested in delivering on Dec. 31, for a more practical reason: a tax deduction.
It turns out that having your little bundle on Dec. 31 instead can actually save you a bundle come tax time, according to Edward McWilliams, senior accountant with Cerini and Associates in Bohemia.
He outlined several ways parents can benefit if their child was born by the end of 2013 -- including the ability to claim the tyke on their 2013 tax return, an increased qualification for an earned income tax credit and the potential ability to change one's status to head of household, if the mother is a single parent.
So while none of the 10 babies born at Good Samaritan on Dec. 31 will have the distinction of being the first of 2014, their parents at least can reap other benefits. "They can buy more toys with all the tax savings they're going to have," McWilliams said.