Keene couple welcomes first baby of the year born at MCH

  • Walker Wilbur Jr. of Keene was born Jan. 3, the first baby born at Monadnock Community Hospital in 2022. Courtesy photo—

  • Walker Wilbur Jr. of Keene was born Jan. 3, the first baby born at the Monadnock Community Hospital in 2022. Courtesy photo—

  • Walker Wilbur Jr. of Keene was born Jan. 3, the first baby born at the Monadnock Community Hospital in 2022. Courtesy photo—

  • Walker and Pamela Wilbur of were the first parents at Monadnock Community Hospital to welcome a new baby this year, with Walker Jr. born Jan. 3. Courtesy photo—

  • Walker and Pamela Wilbur of Keene were the first parents at Monadnock Community Hospital to welcome a new baby this year, with Walker Jr. born Jan. 3. Courtesy photo—

  • Walker and Pamela Wilbur of Keene were the first parents at Monadnock Community Hospital to welcome a new baby this year, with Walker Jr. born Jan. 3. Courtesy photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/7/2022 3:45:55 PM
Modified: 1/7/2022 3:45:15 PM

Walker and Pamela Wilbur of Keene were the first parents to welcome a newborn at Monadnock Community Hospital in Peterborough in 2022.

Born at 12:57 p.m. on Jan. 3, Walker Wilbur Jr. weighed 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and was 18 inches long.

Walker is Pamela’s fourth child, and the first for Walker Sr. The couple, who wed in December, work together at Sweet Pickings Farm in Vermont.

Walker said the family was eager to meet its new addition, who was more than a week late in arriving.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “It’s a relief that he’s finally here. But we’re working on finding time to take a nap. He likes to sleep when we’re awake, so he’s got it all planned out.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, his siblings, Dominic Smith, Jazmine Smith and Skylar Smith, had to wait for him to come home before their first meeting.

“The girls are very excited,” Walker said.

December was a boom month for births at Monadnock Community Hospital, according to Jennifer Alexander, the clinical nurse manager for the MCH birthing suite. Usually, Alexander said, about 30 deliveries occur each month, but December had 41.

Despite that peak, she said, early predictions of a possible COVID baby boom never materialized for Monadnock Community Hospital, and neither did the eventual reality of a birth decline since the start of COVID.

Birth rates have been declining in the United States almost every year since 2008, but even accounting for that usual decline, and the seasonal decrease of births during the winter, the number of births since December 2020 – when the first children conceived during the pandemic were born – have been unusually low, according to data from the U.S. Census.

Nationally, births in December, January and February of 2021 were substantially lower – between 7 and 10% lower – than the previous year, with the decline slowing in March.

In a typical year, Alexander said, MCH records between 315 and 320 births. The hospital measures statistics from October to October, based on the hospital’s fiscal year.

From October 2019 to October 2020, there was a decline in the number of births at Monadnock Community Hospital, with 269 babies born there, but that didn’t reflect any babies conceived after the first pandemic shutdowns in March 2020, Alexander said.

The statistics for October 2020 to October 2021, are more in line with the hospital’s usual statistics, with 306 deliveries.

 


Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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