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First 2022 Long Island baby comes into the world at midnight

Ashton Gabriel, the first Long Island New Year's

Ashton Gabriel, the first Long Island New Year's Day baby, weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 21 inches long. Credit: Northwell Health

Long Island’s first baby of 2022 joined the world at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day: Ashton Gabriel, born to Megan and Rosendy Gabriel of Floral Park.

Young Ashton, born at Katz Women’s Hospital at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset, weighed 8 pounds, 10 ounces and was 21 inches long. Mom Megan Gabriel described him as "calm and cool" and said they had spent much of his first day on the planet snuggling.

Ashton had been due Dec. 27, then arrived in a rush: "I went into contractions at 3 p.m. and we came to the hospital at 7:30 because they were getting very strong," Gabriel said. "Everything just went so quickly."

Megan Gabriel, 31, runs Wet Paws, a pet grooming service in Bellerose Terrace; Rosendy Gabriel, 33, works in finance in Manhattan and is a Marine who has deployed to Iraq and Jordan. Ashton has two brothers, Aidin, 8, a Christmas Day baby, and Gavin, 4.

Megan Gabriel said she had hoped to introduce Ashton to his brothers at the hospital. But both she and her husband tested positive for COVID-19, so the boys and Rosendy Gabriel, who was present for the birth but had to leave after delivery, are waiting at home.

The boys are "very excited — they can’t wait for us to come home," she said.

But "being here without [my husband] really stinks," she said. "I would love his help and it would be nice just to have him here."

Gabriel, who has had her vaccination and booster shots, said she apologized to one of the nurses who came into her hospital room.

"Me being COVID-positive, I’m sure it’s scary," Gabriel said.

"Don’t worry," the nurse told her. "Everybody is."

Even Dr. Terry Rifkin, the doctor on the delivery, was excited, she said, telling her that though he had been on call many times over the holiday, Ashton was his first New Year’s Day baby.

When some years have passed, Gabriel said, Ashton’s New Year’s Day birth will be a "neat fact he’ll be able to tell all his friends."

She and Ashton are due to leave the hospital Sunday, she said. She was happy, a little tired "and just praying he doesn’t have any COVID symptoms," she added.

New York City's first baby also arrived exactly at midnight. Daughter Leyla Gessel Tzunun Garcia, 7 pounds, 6.3 ounces, was born to Irma Garcia and German Tzunun of Gravesend, Brooklyn, at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island, according to a release from the health system. Lelyla is their first child.

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