Originally published in Galveston County Daily News

by Bronwyn Turner

Jose and Miriam Ortize with baby Marieli and Drs. Valerie Turner and Sharon Nkechi Williams.
Marieli Montserrat Ortiz arrived three weeks early, just in time to lay claim to a unique birth statistic — born 11-11-11 at 11 minutes past 11 a.m.

The 6-pound, 11-ounce girl sporting a head of black hair also debuted on her father’s birthday. Parents Jose and Miriam Ortiz, of Houston, up since 3 a.m., were tired, but happy celebrants in their room, which was, of course, No. 11 at UTMB.
“She was really my present,” said Ortiz, who struggled to find words to describe his birthday surprise. “I never imagined this, and now that I have her, this is welcome, especially because the baby is doing good.”

Marieli’s name is a compilation honoring grandparents on both sides of the family. The Ortiz family, which includes older sister Aldamaris, 5, expected Marieli to arrive Dec. 5. But on the morning of Nov. 11 around 3:20 a.m., Miriam Ortiz’ water broke, and the couple headed for UTMB labor and delivery.
Marieli arrived by cesarean section at 11:11 a.m.

Ortiz, who works as a cook at a Houston restaurant, was not sure what to make of all the attention nationwide given to the births and weddings occurring Friday.

The calendar date only rolls around every 100 years, providing a perfect same-numbered palindrome of 11-11-11.

“Everybody is kind of happy about this,” he said.

But he was more focused on the day’s gift than statistics.

“I will just say that today, God blessed our family, and we will try to keep it that way from now on,” he said.