For Kansas City’s first baby of 2014, America’s freedoms have come naturally.
Isha and Faw Rim can take 6-pound, 14-ounce Sa Aht anywhere they want, traveling easily across the Midwest.
Since the Rims grew up as refugees from Burma in a camp in Thailand, these freedoms aren’t taken for granted.
“We are so lucky here in Kansas City,” said Sa Aht’s aunt, Harsamit Bi Kamara, as she held the blue-blanketed baby boy with a knitted blue hat in her arms Wednesday at Truman Medical Center on Hospital Hill.
“We want everything to be the best for him. He’ll be a good little man,” she said.
Isha Rim, 29, wasn’t due to give birth until Jan. 11, but when she showed up Tuesday morning for a regular checkup, her doctor said she had low amniotic fluid and that her baby’s birth needed to be induced.
By late Tuesday morning, she was admitted into the hospital at the start of what would be a long labor.
Faw Rim, 28, had figured he would be spending New Year’s Eve working his night shift security post at the Hilton President Kansas City — but those plans quickly changed.
Isha Rim said she was hardly aware of the approaching midnight hour, but her sister began to think the baby might be waiting for the new year. She was rooting for it, she said.
At 12:08 a.m., Sa Aht was born, bringing cheers of “Happy New Year!” from the doctor and the nursing staff, the Rims said.
The baby, 20 inches long, arrived in good health, they said, getting 2014 off to a wonderful start.
2013 had been the year that both mother and father earned American citizenship — Isha in September and Faw in October.
“Finally,” Isha Rim said, “our citizenship is here.”
They had come to Kansas City from the Thailand camp in February 2008 when their first child, daughter Noronisa, was 7 months old, and the parents were 23 and 22.
They had spent all of their lives in the stilted life of the camp, sheltered from the unending civil war of their homeland. Isha was born in the camp. Faw’s family arrived when he was 2. They were married in the camp.
The camp provided their needs, including schooling, Kamara said. “But you had no freedom,” she said. “You always have to be inside (the camp).”
When they had a chance to come to the United States, they came. Kansas City was chosen for them.
They have a home here. Their daughter is in the first grade at Gladstone Elementary School. Kansas City has been good to them.
“We like everything here,” Isha Rim said. “This is stable. We can go where we want to go.”
That will be the life for little Sa Aht.