LINCOLN — Gina Munson’s five sisters accompanied her to Penobscot Valley Hospital after she went into labor Wednesday night, urging her to hold off until midnight so her baby could be the first born in Maine in 1998.
“They kept telling me to wait and I said, `I’m going to have this baby whenever it wants to come out’,” Munson said from the hospital Thursday. “But I made it to midnight.”
Jennifer Alane Munson was born at 3 a.m., making her the first of the year in central Maine. The healthy 6-pound, 13-ounce infant slept away most of New Year’s Day, said her mother, who struggled to keep her awake long enough to feed her.
Jennifer was not the first baby born this year in Maine — a baby girl born at Maine Medical Center, Portland, at 1:17 a.m. took that honor.
The birth brought mixed emotions for Munson, of Springfield, who lost her husband in a car accident Aug. 5. Chad Munson was a forester and the volunteer fire chief in Springfield. He left behind his pregnant wife and two children, Brad, 10, and Emily, 3.
“She has her father’s nose,” said Gina Munson, who wishes health and happiness for her daughter. She will take the baby home this morning.
Michael John Cummings entered the world at 3:27 a.m. Thursday in Houlton, making him the first New Year’s baby in northern Maine.
The infant, weighing 7 pounds 3 1/2 ounces, and measuring 19 inches in length, was born at Houlton Regional Hospital. His parents are Norma and Christopher Cummings of Sherman Station. The Cummingses said they were overjoyed with the safe arrival of their first child.
The infant was reported healthy and sleeping early Thursday afternoon. His first feeding — 2 1/2 ounces of formula at noon — had gone very well, according to his mother, who held her son while talking on the telephone to a newspaper reporter.
Television cameras from a local station jockeyed for position in Norma Cummings’ hospital room as she and her dairy-farmer husband prepared to field questions from the media.
Ten hours after giving birth, Cummings declared her son was “perfectly fine. He’s been awful good so far,” said the new mother, who is 27.
Following 10 1/2 hours of labor that began shortly after 5 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, Cummings said she was a “little tired.
“I’m taking a lot of catnaps today,” she said. Among the infant’s gifts was a sweater set knitted by Houlton resident Eva Pelletier for the first baby born locally in 1998.
Norma Cummings is a graduate of the Southern Aroostook Community High School in Dyer Brook and said she works with mentally handicapped clients at the Green Valley Association in Patten. She will take some time off from her job to be with her baby, the mother said.
Cummings said she was admitted to the hospital on Monday, Dec. 29, after her blood pressure became elevated. Until that point, her pregnancy had been relatively uncomplicated, she said. The baby was delivered naturally two days later.
Rather than making a 45-minute drive to the Houlton hospital from their home, “I was right here when the action began,” she said.
Maternal grandparents are Norman and Betty Lacharite of Island Falls. Paternal grandparents are Earl and Cecilia Cummings of Sherman Station.
Dr. Donald Brushett, a Houlton general practitioner, delivered the Cummings baby.
The father is a graduate of Katahdin High School, Sherman Station, and works on the family dairy farm in the same town.
Chris Cummings, who held his son within minutes of his birth, said Thursday he felt “wonderful. I couldn’t be happier.”
Aroostook County also gets credit for the second baby born in central-northern Maine for 1998. Joseph Eric Boone was born at 5:48 a.m. at the Aroostook Medical Center in Presque Isle. The healthy baby is the son of Raymond and Lisa Boone of Presque Isle.
In Skowhegan, a baby boy was born at 12:30 p.m. Thursday at the Redington-Fairview Hospital, making him the third baby born in 1998 for central-northern Maine and possibly the fourth in line for “first-born-in-1998” honors statewide. His parents are William and Anne Tower of Moscow. The infant weighed 6 pounds, 11 1/4 ounces and measured 19 1/4 inches in length, according to a hospital spokesperson. Mother and child were reported to be doing fine Thursday afternoon.
A healthy baby girl born at the Maine Medical Center in Portland captured first-baby-born-in-1998 honors for Maine. Brooke Elizabeth Nadeau was born at 1:17 a.m. to Denise and Peter Nadeau of Biddeford. The infant will receive a $500 check from the hospital, according to hospital public information specialist Martha Davoli.
The informal survey of hospitals in northern and central Maine did not include any babies that might have been born at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor. A hospital spokesperson said Wednesday that EMMC no longer releases any information on births to the public.