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La Cañada Unified staff take residence USC Verdugo Hills' first child of 2020

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La Cañada Unified School District employees David and Kristina Paszkiewicz spent their New Year’s Day in USC Verdugo Hills Hospital but, oh, what a time it was. That evening they successfully delivered healthy, 8-pound, 15-ounce baby girl they named Ellie.

She came at 8:18 p.m., one day past her Dec. 31 due date — to the mock chagrin of her father, who’d joked his third child would be born just in time for a write-off on his 2019 taxes — making her the first baby to be born at USC Verdugo Hills in 2020.

USC Verdugo Hills Hospital

Altadena mom Kristina Paszkiewiscz delivered an 8-pound, 15-ounce baby girl, Ellie, at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital on New Year’s Day.

(Courtesy of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital)

“We kind of got the star treatment because she was the only baby in the ward,” said David Paszkiewicz, who works as a tech specialist for LCUSD, where Kristina also works as a paraprofessional. “We had the nurses all to ourselves.”

As the first baby of the new decade, Ellie went home Friday with a basket full of baby products and coupons for services donated by businesses in the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Her birth weight and arrival time also proved to be a boon to two locals who submitted their best guesses for the hospital’s annual contest and won $100 Amazon gift cards. John Kruse guessed the first baby of 2020 would be born at 7:37 p.m., while Barbara Self Lewis put its weight at 8 pounds, 10 ounces.

Ellie Paszkiewiscz

Pictured with mom Kristina, Ellie Paszkiewiscz was born at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital Wednesday at 8:18 p.m., making her the first baby born in 2020 at the hospital.

(Courtesy of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital)

But for the Altadena family, especially sister Parker, 5, and 7-year-old brother Malcolm, the true prize was getting to take home a brand-new family member.

David Paszkiewicz said the baby’s timing could not have been more perfect, coming while he and his wife were enjoying La Cañada Unified’s winter break. While Kristina will likely stay home for the rest of the school year, David plans to take just one more week off.

Baby Ellie is one New Year’s gift that won’t be forgotten.

“I don’t get my tax break,” he quipped. “[But] she’s special enough.”

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