Sixteen days have ticked by and the South Whidbey Record is still waiting for its first baby of the year.
There was a time when South Whidbey’s first baby was festooned with gifts from merchants. That tradition faded away, but at least there was always a picture of the baby.
Where have all the babies gone? Perhaps it’s time to loosen our one restriction, that the year’s first baby must be born on Whidbey Island. For South Whidbey, this usually meant Whidbey General Hospital, the Greenbank Birthing Center, at home, on the ferry or in the back of an ambulance.
In recent times, baby deliveries seem to have shifted more to the mainland in facilities too numerous to track. That’s why we required the Whidbey Island birth. Otherwise, we’d have to check with numerous mainland facilities from Everett to Seattle. Trust us, we’ve tried it. Even in Everett a lot of people have never heard of Whidbey Island and sniffy hospital receptionists consider us a crank call.
Whidbey General and midwife Cynthia Jaffe in Greenbank help keep an eye out for our first baby. In fact, we may have missed South Whidbey’s first baby of the year. Rumor has it that he or she was born but the mom and babe left the hospital so fast that no phone number was found in their wake. If so, we’re still willing to take the baby’s picture if Mom would just give us a call.
Perhaps we can blame the baby shortage on the schools. Why not? They get blamed for everything else. Our student population has plummeted by some 800 souls over the last two decades. The sex education classes they started in the sixth grade after the STD panic must have worked too well. Young people are too scared to ever have sex. That’s why we see their eyes continually glued to their mobile devices, which might spread the flu but nothing social. The schools should lighten up in their sex ed classes to note that in most cases it doesn’t kill you and we really need to renew the species.
We have not given up on finding our first baby of 2012. But we urge South Whidbey couples to start preparing for 2013 so we never again face such a shortage. Take April Fool’s Day off work. The timing should be just about right.