The year 2021 started off with a surprise for a Grand Rapids couple.

Their baby girl arrived ahead of schedule, claiming the title as the first baby of the new year born at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital Family Birthplace and Natural Birthing Suites.

“Now you have a story to tell,” said Brianna Rincones, as she cuddled her newborn daughter.

Sumayah Abdalla Annia Murjaan arrived 57 minutes after midnight—weighing 8 pounds, 5 ounces and measuring 21 inches long.

She quickly charmed her parents. They marveled over her thick curly hair, her cuddly personality and her healthy appetite.

“She is wonderful, just like her big sister,” said her dad, Abdalla Abdi.

Their 3-year-old daughter, Aliayah, was excited to meet Sumayah on a FaceTime call.

“She was all smiley and hugging herself,” Brianna said.

After the worries brought by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, it felt good to start the new year with a new baby, the parents said.

“A fresh start,” Abdalla said.

“It’s nice to be able to think things will change and go back to semi-normal,” Brianna said. “It’s a new beginning.”

Brianna expected to give birth a few days later: She had a cesarean section scheduled for Jan. 5.

But on New Year’s Eve, she went into labor. When she arrived at the hospital around 9 p.m., she realized she would likely give birth on New Year’s Day.

After several more hours of labor, she gave birth to Sumayah. That’s when she learned her daughter was the first baby of the year at the hospital.

“It was exciting, cool—different,” Brianna said.

She can picture Sumayah one day sharing that distinction as a “fun fact” in class.

In the first hours of life, Sumayah’s sweet personality emerged. If she cries a little, she calms quickly when she is picked up.

“She likes to cuddle a lot,” Brianna said. “She just wants to be warm.”

Brianna speculated that Sumayah might like the spotlight.

“My mom says she likes attention because she came during the new year and she was the first baby,” she said. “Her personality might be strong.”

Sumayah brings a rich heritage from several cultures—Mexican and Cuban from her mother and Somali and Indian from her dad.

Brianna chose the name Sumayah for her daughter because she likes the sound of it.

The couple followed Somali traditions in choosing her full name, Sumayah Abdalla Annia Murjaan.

She has Abdalla’s first name as a middle name. Her last name, Murjaan, is her dad’s middle name and her paternal grandfather’s last name.

As they reflected on their hopes for Sumayah’s future, Brianna talked about the importance of education.

Abdalla looks forward to playing basketball with both his daughters—and wouldn’t mind seeing them play in the WNBA someday.

Both parents agreed they want Sumayah and Aliayah to find and follow their own dreams.

“I just want them to be happy,” Brianna said. “That’s what you really want for your kids in life—to be happy and to accomplish the goals they set for themselves.”