Couple celebrates Merrimack Valley's first baby of the new year

CARL RUSSO/Staff photoAshlaine Etienne and her fiancé, Perets Isma, look at their daughter, Myeila, the first baby of the new year in the Greater Lawrence area. She was born at 1:07 a.m. on New Year's Day at Lawrence General Hospital. They live in Lawrence.

It was a great day to celebrate not just the new year, but a new decade.

Baby Myeila came into the world Wednesday of last week at 1:07 a.m. at Lawrence General Hospital's birthing center — the first baby of the new year to be born in the region.

Her mother, Ashlaine Etienne, 23, and father, Perets Isma, 25, were beaming with pride last Wednesday afternoon, less than 24 hours after the birth of their first child.

"I wanted a New Year's Eve baby, but she does what she wants," said a smiling Etienne, who lives in South Lawrence near the North Andover line with Isma, her fiancé.

She noted that Myeila was a week overdue and came in at a healthy 6.18 pounds and 20 inches long with a full head of curly, dark hair. "She had no plans of coming out," the new mom said.

"We are blessed," she added. "We welcomed the new year with a new baby."

Their obstetrician was Dr. Thomas Davidson of Andover Obstetrics.

Carmelle Alexis, Etienne's mother and Myeila's grandmother, sat in the corner of the hospital room last Wednesday, reveling in the birth of her first grandchild.

"She's a miracle baby," Alexis said, noting that she couldn't stop her tears of joy when the baby was born. "I'm so excited."

The new mom's best friends, Tricia and Claudia Aspilaire of Medford, sat on a couch in the hospital room, supporting their friend and Myeila.

"She made the entrance she deserved," Tricia said. "She was supposed to be a Christmas baby, but she was born on New Year's Eve."

Everyone in the room, including a nurse and a hospital administrator, laughed when Etienne told the story of how she came up with her newborn daughter's name.

"I saw it on a license plate and I liked it," she said. "I remember saying, 'If I ever have a baby, I'm naming her that."'

Isma said he has already reached out to their extended family, who live everywhere from their homeland in Haiti to Canada, Connecticut, New York and Texas.

"Everyone is really happy and sent their congratulations," said Isma, who works in Woburn for a software company based in the Fenway area of Boston.

The couple said they first met while attending Northeast Metro Tech in Wakefield, but didn't start dating until after graduating.

They both had nothing but praise for the hospital and its staff.

"The nurses have done an incredible job," said Etienne, an administrator for MaidPro in the North End. "We couldn't have done it without them."

"It was a tough 18 hours, but we made it," Isma said. "It's all been very emotional."

The couple, originally from Haiti, had another reason for celebrating the birth of their daughter. She was born on Haitian Independence Day — the day 216 years ago when the island nation separated from France.



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