Little ZaNeya first Natchez baby born in 2023

Published 11:42 am Saturday, January 7, 2023

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NATCHEZ — Baby ZaNeya Harris was born just a little early, but that’s OK. She is healthy and well and was the first baby born at Merit Health Natchez in 2023. She was born Jan. 3, weighing 5 pounds and 13 ounces.

Her mother, Zenevia Lee, said she had no idea ZaNeya was the first little one born at the hospital this year until Merit Health staff surprised her and her little baby with gifts, diapers, wipes, a first aid kit, bottles and a $50 gift card from Walmart. 

“I didn’t know that Natchez did that,” she said. “I just moved to Mississippi last year. They have a celebration for the first baby of the month. I think it’s pretty cool and more hospitals should do that. It was a blessing. I’m definitely going to remember that.”

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ZaNeya wasn’t due until Jan. 20, Zenevia said, adding her protein levels were high, prompting her doctors to do a c-section. 

“I was awake but I couldn’t feel anything but pressure,” she said. “She came out purple and she didn’t want to cry, but everything was fine. As soon as they were done cleaning her up and my meds wore off, she was able to come home with me. We were there two days and her daddy (Justin Harris) stayed there with us both days. They were taking good care of us.”

Just a few days old, Zenevia said ZaNeya is showing her own little personality. 

“She makes funny facial expressions,” she said.

She has four siblings, including Zenevia’s boy and girl twins who will be two this year and Justin’s two children, 6 and 5 years old.