The first Faulkner County baby of this year was born, though he wasn’t ready to be, on Jan. 1 at 4:11 a.m.

John Eli Hawkins, weighing in at five pounds and 15 ounces, was born at Conway Regional Medical Center five weeks before his due date.

"Johnny" was able to be reunited with the pediatric nurses at the Conway Regional Women’s Center on Wednesday after a stay at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and a needed rest at his home in Saint Vincent.

Parents Keith and Pamela Hawkins arrived at the medical center Wednesday with their five children, four boys and one girl, Nathaniel, Logan, Layton, Johnny and Tess, for the reunion with the medical staff who were responsible for Johnny’s immediate care after birth.

Pamela Hawkins said that her fifth child began to have breathing problems shortly after he arrived.

He was then transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital, where he was closely observed while receiving medicines for respiratory complications.

Johnny Hawkins’ mother said that he is a healthy boy today, and has begun to steadily gain weight. He has gained two pounds since Jan. 1.

"It was scary because the rest of the kids, we had no problems with," Pamela Hawkins said. "He went to the pediatrician yesterday, though, and (the pediatrician) said that he’d never know he was early. He’s doing great now."

As for more children, father Keith Hawkins said that he would gladly have 10 children "if (he) could afford it."

Pamela Hawkins said she and her husband may wait a while before making the decision to have another child.

"The hardest part of this was going back and forth between the ones at home and Johnny. I felt like I couldn’t be two places at once," Pamela Hawkins said.

The Hawkins children, after two weeks of waiting, were excited to finally meet their newest brother and to have him at home with them in Saint Vincent. 

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at