Big bundle of joy
Woman gives birth to 12-pound baby

COVINGTON - At just 2 days old, Jessie James Ward is already wearing a size 3 months.

Jessie James caused quite a stir when he was born at 12:51 p.m. Tuesday, weighing in at 12.05 pounds and measuring 23 inches long. Nurses at the Newton Medical BirthCare Center say he set the record for the largest baby born there, at least in recent memory.

Sucking on a bottle in his mother's arms Thursday, Jessie James barely fit into a two-piece Mickey Mouse outfit, size 3 months.

His parents, John Ward and Betty Joel Draper, said they'll have to buy some new clothes for their baby, who apparently came by his unusually hefty birth weight honestly.

His paternal grandfather weighed 13 pounds at birth, according to dad John, who weighed about 11 pounds himself.

Draper's other two children, both girls, topped 9 pounds.

Her oldest daughter, age 5, "held him for not even two minutes and told her Mawmaw she couldn't hold him, he was getting heavy," Draper said.

Charge Nurse Susann Whittle has been at the BirthCare Center for 13 years and said Jessie James is the largest baby she can remember, though, "We've had some 11-pounders."

The other nurses agree.

In fact, the nurses got so excited over Jessie James, they temporarily forgot to get his footprints, according to maternal grandfather Buddy Draper.

Draper, who gained 70 pounds during her pregnancy, had a C-section ordered by her gynecologist, Dr. Lee Rippy.

The day before Jessie James was born, nearly a week overdue, Rippy predicted he would weigh 11 pounds, 14 ounces.

"He told me I shouldn't have missed my last appointment because I have big babies," Draper said. "He said, "That's what you get.'"

But Draper doesn't mind that her bundle of joy is a bit heavier than most.

"I'd rather have big babies than small ones, because I don't feel like I'm going to break them," she said.

Crystal Tatum can be reached at crystal.tatum@newtoncitizen.com.