PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — As the U.K. commemorated the royal birth with a 41-gun salute this week, The County was already reveling in a baby boom of its own.
Nine babies were born during the week of July 15, eight of them during a 72-hour window, at A.R. Gould Memorial Hospital in Presque Isle.
“For a hospital that sees on average just over 200 births a year, this qualifies as a baby boom,” according to a press release from The Aroostook Medical Center, which oversees the hospital.
The third week of July has, for the past several years, been the busiest week of the year for the women and children’s health department at TAMC.
“It has been quite busy,” Pam Lilley, manager of Women and Children’s Health at TAMC, said in the release. “It used to be that March and September were the times of the year when we’d see a jump in the number of deliveries. Looking back in recent years, July is clearly the month when the largest number of babies is born at our hospital.”
So far this week, three more babies were born, including two girls who share a birthday with the new prince of Cambridge, son to Prince William and Duchess Kate.
Parents of many of the newborns wondered with some excitement whether their babies’ births would coincide with the delivery of the heir to the British throne, Lilley said.
One of the new mothers, Serena Collins of Portage Lake, who owns and operates the Ashland Diner with her mother, Amy Collins, said the coming weeks will be filled with, “I told you so.”
“People coming into the restaurant were constantly telling me over the past few months that Princess Kate and I would have our babies on the same day,” she said in the release. “Looks like they were right. I’ve watched the royal family since Princess Diana’s death and I have visited England, so the thought of having my baby on the same day as Princess Kate had crossed my mind, even before my customers pointed it out. It is certainly something to note in the baby book.”
Like the British royals, Collins and her fiance, Jason Bonville, didn’t want to know the baby’s sex before the birth and waited to choose a name. After some thought, the couple named the baby Lydia Bonville, with a middle name yet to be determined.
The County welcomed the “Princess of Portage Lake” at 6:02 p.m. Monday.
Baby Lydia has a 2-year-old big sister, Kilynn. Collins and Bonville plan to wed on Sept. 7.
While it may not be the bells of Westminster Abbey or the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing off 41 rounds, the arrival of a new “prince” or “princess” at the Presque Isle hospital is marked by the sound of chimes playing Brahms’ Lullaby, according to the release. The tune has been heard in the hallways of the hospital more than usual in recent days.
Other areas of the country are experiencing mini baby booms of their own. Nine months after Hurricane Sandy struck, leaving many residents stuck at home and unoccupied without electricity, several hospitals in New Jersey report delivering hundreds more babies compared with this time last year.
The summer is typically the top season for births in the U.S. The most popular birth month last year was August, while the least popular month was February, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.