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Meet baby Arav - the first New Year’s baby born at Phoenix’s Mahatma Gandhi Hospital

Jerusha Gowtham Batohi and baby Arav Dante Batohi.

Jerusha Gowtham Batohi and baby Arav Dante Batohi.

Published Jan 7, 2022


Durban - Baby Arav Botohi is hoping to usher in many blessings for his family.

The baby - who was born on New Year's Day - had seemingly set high goals for himself from the time he was in his mother's womb.

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He is the first, longed-for boy to be born into his family.

He also arrived in the world around 10 days early and is the first baby to be born on January 1 at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

His mother, Jerusha Gowtham Batohi, 30, from Phoenix Unit 10 in Phoenix, said that the birth of her baby came as a surprise as she was expecting to give birth between the 12th and 17th of January.

“Around lunchtime (on December 31), I started feeling a lot of pressure on my bladder, and I thought it was just normal pregnancy contractions, so I continued with preparing for New Year's eve. However, as it came closer to 8pm, the pains continued, so at 9pm, I decided to go to the hospital,” said Batohi.

Batohi said she and her husband of five years, Nishaan (30), were very excited to welcome their first baby boy into the world.

She said that they did not know the gender of the baby until the day of delivery, and they thought it would be another girl because both their families had been blessed with only girl children.

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“Everyone at home was absolutely excited because there are mostly girl children in our family, and after a very long time, we welcomed a boy in our family,” she said.

Botohi said that she and her husband have a six-year-old daughter, Arianna, who will celebrate her birthday on Wednesday, 5 January. "So, we will be celebrating two birthdays in the month of January from now on."

Named Arav Dante, the new addition to the Botohi family weighed 3kg at birth. He was the first baby to be born at the Mahatma Gandhi Hospital at 00:40am in the morning.

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Bahoti said that her baby was well received by her father and two sisters, who she lives with at home. “They are all so happy to welcome the first baby boy."

Batohi said she has not been working since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the birth of her new baby boy, she is hopeful for new beginnings and better opportunities.

“It was difficult to get a job because of the pandemic, and when I fell pregnant, it was even worse for me. But I am hopeful that this year it will be much better, and we can work our way through,” she said.

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According to the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, 264 New Year babies were born at healthcare facilities across the province.

The total is made up of 129 boys and 135 girls.

In a statement, Nomagugu Simelane, KZN Health MEC, said: “The Province’s first New Year’s baby was born at Mosvold Hospital, under Umkhanyakude District, shortly after midnight. Interestingly, we have a set of twin girls who were born at Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospital to a 25-year-old mother, Ms Ziyanda Madikizela.”

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Department of Health