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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 ɪsʟᴀɴᴅ ʀᴇsɪᴅᴇɴᴛs 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 passed away in 2005. It was their boat Wind Song that provided transport for Erin’s midwives when she went into labor on Sept. 26. We have used the same wonderful midwives for our past four births. Rin 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.
Her newborn is 8 pounds 9 oz and 21.5 inches long. 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 ᴇxᴛʀᴇᴍᴇʟʏ sɪɢɴɪFɪᴄᴀɴᴛ.
“It’s exciting,” Cranberry Isles’ town clerk Denise McCormick told the outlet.
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 preceding, enrollment had totaled an average of 16.
“We had a little ʙᴀʙʏ ʙᴏᴏᴍ,” McCormick said.
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 ᴅɪsᴄᴏᴠᴇʀᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴇ ʟᴀsᴛ ʙɪʀᴛʜ ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ɪsʟᴀɴᴅ ʜᴀᴅ ʟɪᴋᴇʟʏ ʙᴇᴇɴ ʜᴇʀ ɢʀᴀɴᴅFᴀᴛʜᴇʀ’s.
The grandfather’s birth was “the last one all the old people can remember having heard of,” she told the outlet. Erin and Aaron Gray run a small grocery store at Northeast Harbor. Erin raises vegetables, flowers, and herbs from her home garden to sell. 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 befriend and grow up with.