Father Rushes Wife From Pe Ell to Centralia to Deliver First Baby of New Year


The first baby of 2023 born at Providence Centralia Hospital came into the world at 3:42 p.m. and was one of two babies born Jan. 1 at Providence Centralia.

Oliver James Harris weighed 6 pounds, 7.1 ounces and was 18.5 inches long. He is the second son of Cede and Eric Harris, of Centralia, and brother of Levi Michael Harris, 21 months. Oliver was delivered by Dr. Jennifer Scalici of the Providence Centralia Women’s Center.

Mother and baby are both doing great, according to dad Eric, but it was a scary pre-entry into the world for little Oliver. The couple was visiting family in Pe Ell early on Jan. 1 when there was obviously something wrong with Cede.

“She just basically dropped mid conversation,” Eric said. “We called the ambulance, but they were going to have to come from Chehalis, so I drove her in … I think it took about 11 minutes for what’s usually a 30-minute drive to Centralia.”

There, he pulled into the emergency department and found a good Samaritan. 

“I was a bucket of tears and sweat and I jumped out of the car and this random guy was standing there and he said, ‘I got you man, let’s get her inside.’ We got her in, and the staff was incredible. They took her right in and had their stuff together. I can’t thank Providence Centralia enough. They were really there for us,” he said.

Eric never got the name of the man who helped, but wants him to know how grateful the family is. 

“Man, I just feel like the community came together,” he said.

Eric and Cede are both caregivers at Sharon Care in Centralia. They met working there and fell in love and were married. Cede named their first child Levi Michael after a favorite Teddy bear, so it was Eric’s turn to name their second child.

“I’ve always liked the name Oliver, it just seems so classy,” he said. “And James is my father’s name.”

The couple has family in Chehalis and Pe Ell and will be spending lots of time with them, including proud grandparents Amanda and Ian Bacon and Kathy and James Harris. 

“We’re so happy everyone is doing great,” Eric said as mom is doing well and still recovering. “We can’t thank the hospital enough. We got a big gift basket and they’ve taken such great care of all of us. Now, we’re looking forward to getting home in the next few days and just getting settled and getting some good rest.”

There were 667 babies born at Providence Centralia in 2022, similar to numbers in the past several years. There were 637 in 2021, 685 in 2020, 632 in 2019, 662 in 2018 and 684 in 2017.