First baby ever born at Virginia hospital welcomes daughter 28 years later at same facility
RICHMOND, Va. - The first baby born at HCA Virginia Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond nearly 30 years ago had her own baby recently at the same facility on Thursday, March 16.
Victoria Matthews, 28, was the first baby born at Johnston-Willis on July 2, 1993, shortly after the hospital opened its labor and delivery unit that year.
A plaque commemorating her birth still hangs in a waiting room.
Victoria Matthews gives birth to her first baby at the same hospital she was born in nearly 30 years ago. (HCA Virginia Health System)
Since that time, over 50,000 babies have been born at Johnston-Willis, according to hospital records.
Matthews had a baby of her own, Emma Matthews, at the same hospital this month.
Her choice of hospital to deliver her firstborn was an easy one, Matthews said in a statement shared with Fox News Digital.
"I don’t think I could have delivered anywhere else — it would have been like cheating on you guys [Johnston-Willis]," said Matthews, who married her high school sweetheart a year ago next month.
The couple lived in Washington, D.C., until last August when they moved back to Richmond.
"I’m doing the work this time around at the hospital," Matthews said.
"It’s a little bit different. It’s been a great experience."
Carolyn Perrin, 68, is a labor and delivery nurse who started working at Johnston-Willis just a month after Victoria was born in 1993.
"It got very, very busy, very, very quickly," Perrin told Fox News Digital, "because it was the first hospital in Chesterfield County at that time. So, that was a really big deal. It was such an exciting time for the unit because everything and everyone was brand new."
"I don’t think I could have delivered anywhere else — it would have been like cheating on you guys [Johnston-Willis]," Victoria Matthews joked. (HCA Virginia Health System)
Johnston-Willis Hospital has been in Richmond for over 100 years, but it's moved to several different locations over time. It settled in Chesterfield County in the early 1980s.
The obstetrics department in the hospital’s current location opened in 1993 with a labor, delivery, recovery and postpartum (LDRP) model, which was cutting-edge at the time, according to the hospital.
Perrin — herself born at Johnston-Willis in 1954, in one of its earlier locations — attended Johnston-Willis Nursing School. She said she'd always been intrigued by the plaque commemorating the hospital’s first baby.
"The doctor who delivered her has been a good friend of mine for years," Perrin said. "His name is David Reutinger. He was amazing."
Reutinger retired last year after a 35-year career at the hospital.
"There are still a few people like me who have not chosen to retire yet," Perrin said.
She made it a point to care for the plaque commemorating the hospital’s first birth, said Perrin. If there were renovations or a new coat of paint in the works, she placed it in her office for safekeeping.
When Perrin heard that very baby — Victoria Matthews — was due to deliver at the hospital where she was born, she knew it was something special.
"The stars had to align for this to happen," she said.
Vanessa Matthews (shown as a newborn in the inset photo) was the first baby delivered at HCA Virginia Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, in 1993. (HCA Virginia Health System)
"There are so many different outcomes that could have [happened]. She could have moved, she could have picked another hospital, she could have not had children. So many things just fell into place perfectly."
The hospital rolled out the red carpet, sending Matthews flowers and arranging interviews about her experience.
"It's a really big deal in the market today, for someone to choose you to have their baby," Perrin said.
"You don't always get to choose where you have your gallbladder out — but most people choose where they have their babies," she said.
Victoria Matthews and baby girl, Emma Matthews, were both born at HCA Virginia Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond, Virginia, nearly 30 years apart. (HCA Virginia Health System)
"We don't take that lightly, and we appreciate when anyone chooses us, and we want to give them the best experience they can have."
Matthews said she would give the doctors and nurses a "12/10 for bedside manner."
Gretchen Eichenberg is a contributing reporter for Fox News Digital.