First 2011 baby is ‘best gift we have got­ten’

Roxana Santos ar­rives a hair past mid­night, joins 2 broth­ers in Md.

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY STEPHANIE MCCRUM­MEN mc­crum­mens@wash­post.com

The Metro area’s 2011 am­bas­sador of hope and pos­si­bil­ity — Baby New Year Roxana Santos — ar­rived in fine form at 12:01 Satur­day morn­ing in a de­liv­ery room at Shady Grove Ad­ven­tist Hos­pi­tal, her par­ents tired, grate­ful and rest­ing well.

“I think it is spe­cial,” said her dad, Rene Santos, 33, re­fer­ring to his daugh­ter’s for­tu­itous tim­ing. “She is the best gift we have got­ten so far.”

Be­sides herald­ing the new decade, the lit­tlest Santos — the third child for Santos and his wife, Ana Cuel­lar, who live in Ger­man­town and are orig­i­nally from El Sal­vador— is a sign of the re­gion’s and the nation’s boom­ing His­panic pop­u­la­tion.

More than half of Mary­land’s 66,000 new res­i­dents in 2009 were His­panic. And in Vir­ginia, His­pan­ics rep­re­sented a third of the state’s 113,000 new res­i­dents, part of a fun­da­men­tal shift in a nation that is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly mi­nor­ity. The rise in the coun­try’s His­panic pop­u­la­tion is be­ing driven less by im­mi­gra­tion these days than high birthrates, ac­cord­ing to the cen­sus.

But on Satur­day, only a sin­gle num­ber pre­oc­cu­pied Santos and his wife: one.

Roxana is the first daugh­ter for the cou­ple, who have two sons and met six years ago in an English class. She is named for her grand­moth­ers, both called Rosa, and her mother Ana, who went into la­bor af­ter she fin­ished cook­ing Fri­day about 6 p.m. Her hus­band, who works in con­struc­tion, took her to the Rockville hos­pi­tal, and about 10 p.m. she was be­ing wheeled into the de­liv­ery room.

Santos said he wasn’t so much look­ing at the clock as try­ing to re­mem­ber his du­ties from birthing classes. But as the la­bor con­tin­ued, the nurses be­gan buzzing about the ap­proach­ing hour.

“I heard the whole staff say­ing it could be the New Year’s baby, but I wasn’t pay­ing too much at­ten­tion,” he said. “We were just try­ing to go step by step. I just wanted to make sure they were both okay.”

About a half-hour af­ter Roxana ar­rived, he said, a doc­tor de­liv­ered the news. “ That’s when we found out — that maybe we had the first baby of the year.”

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