ELLSWORTH — Leyla Gessel Tzunun Garcia knows how to make an entrance. New York City’s first baby of 2022 arrived at the stroke of midnight. The title in Maine may belong to Grace-Glow Whitney of Auburn, born at 12:36 a.m. Jan. 1 at St. Mary’s in Lewiston. In Ellsworth, Henry Young was only a couple days behind.
Henry Phillip Young, son of Brittany and Brandon Young of Blue Hill, was the first baby born at Northern Light Maine Coast Hospital in 2022. He arrived at 5:33 a.m. on Jan. 3, weighing 6 pounds, .2 ounces. The Birthing Department gifted Henry and his parents a basket of treats.
A baby has symbolized a fresh start to the new year since ancient Greece, according to Britannica.com. The month of January is named for the Roman god Janus, depicted as having two faces, one looking forward and the other backward. An 1897 etching shows a bearded Father Time cradling an angelic Baby New Year. A winged baby and stork appeared on a 1908 cover of The Saturday Evening Post. The news from north Brooklin in the Jan. 14, 1920, edition of The Ellsworth American included the announcement of the birth of one Gerald Merle Giles. “Mr. and Mrs. George M. Giles were made happy by the arrival on New Year’s Day of a sturdy baby boy.”
In 1997 — 25 years ago — Hancock County’s New Year’s baby was Isaiah Josiah Tracey, son of Christina Tracey. He was born at 5:06 a.m. on Jan. 1 that year at Maine Coast Memorial Hospital.
Births are down in Hancock County compared to a decade ago, according to data compiled by the Department of Health and Human Services. There were 416 live resident births in 2020, compared to 476 in 2011. There were just 398 Hancock County births in 2019, the lowest annual tally from 2011-2020. The highest number from that period was 489 births in 2014. Ellsworth numbers have stayed relatively stable since 2011, with 86 births reported that year compared to 87 in 2020. The high during that period was 101 in 2014, the low in 2017 when just 71 Ellsworth babies were born. In Bar Harbor, the 19 births in 2020 were less than half of the 2011 total of 40. In tiny Great Pond, just three babies have been born in the past decade.
Following a year that had more downs than ups for many Americans, the sight of 2022’s new arrivals proved especially heartening.