Maine Island Community Happy To Welcomes First Baby In 93 Years
A tiny island community off the coast of Maine is celebrating its first baby born on home soil in over 93 years.
Baby Azalea Belle Gray is the sixth child born to island residents Aaron Gray and Erin Fernald Gray. The Fernald family goes back several generations on Islesford, known as Little Cranberry Island by the people who live there. Baby Azalea’s great-grandfather, lobsterman Warren Fernald, was likely the last baby born there over nine decades ago. Fernald was born in July 1927 and ᴘᴀssᴇᴅ away in 2005. Talking to The Epoch Times, the 40-year-old mom said: “My children are the 8th ɢᴇɴᴇʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴ ᴏF ʟᴏʙsᴛᴇʀᴍᴇɴ from the Cranberry Isles. My three oldest kids have Maine Student Lobsterfishing licenses and they are learning with my father aboard his boat, the Wind Song.”
It was their boat Wind Song that ᴘʀᴏᴠɪᴅᴇᴅ ᴛʀᴀɴsᴘᴏʀᴛ for Erin’s midwives when she went into labor on Sept. 26.
“We have used the same wonderful midwives for our past four births, Julie Havener and Chris Yentes,” Erin said, “which made me even more comfortable with doing an island home birth.” Erin and Aaron’s five other children were all born on the mainland, two at hospitals and three at the couple’s mainland home at Northeast Harbor.The proud mom announced her baby girl’s ᴀʀʀɪᴠᴀʟ on Facebook. She wrote: “Today we welcomed Azalea Belle Gray to our family. She was born safe and healthy at home. She is 8 pounds 9 oz and 21.5 inches long, and has five very ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴅ big siblings,” she added.
Baby Azalea would have been considered an island resident even if she was born on the mainland, according to Bangor Daily News, but for the tight-knit Islesford community, her birth on home turf is extremely significant. McCormick said that the island’s younger demographic has been gradually increasing in recent years. In 2019, enrollment at the town’s two K-8 schools totaled 23 students; in the eight years ᴘʀᴇᴄᴇᴅɪɴɢ, ᴇɴʀᴏʟʟᴍᴇɴᴛ had totaled an average of 16.
Erin didn’t plan to be the first woman to give birth on Islesford since 1927. It was only after baby Azalea was born that Erin discovered the last birth on the island had likely been her grandfather’s. The grandfather’s birth was “the last one all the old people can remember having heard of,” she told the outlet. The Grays are not intending to have any more children, but Erin has said she would be happy for other families to welcome babies on the island, kids that her own children could ʙᴇFʀɪᴇɴᴅ and grow up with.Erin’s midwife, Julie Havener, agrees. Posting her own reflections on baby Azalea’s birth on Facebook, Havener wrote: “This is not the first childbearing year I’ve spent with this sweet couple and growing family.
“I’ve witnessed Erin meet every hard point in pregnancy and labor with ᴠɪɢᴏʀ, ᴇxᴄɪᴛᴇᴍᴇɴᴛ, ᴛʀᴇᴘɪᴅᴀᴛɪᴏɴ, ʀᴇsᴏʟᴠᴇ, ᴄᴏᴍᴍɪᴛᴍᴇɴᴛ, sᴜʀʀᴇɴᴅᴇʀ … She gets things done,” Havener wrote.
“The sweetness of witnessing their 5 other kids come in to meet their new baby? Priceless.”