First babies of 2021 usher in optimism and hope for new year

  • Monika and Darius Kizys hold daughter Amelia, who was born at 5:20 a.m. at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

    Monika and Darius Kizys hold daughter Amelia, who was born at 5:20 a.m. at Edward Hospital in Naperville. Edward-Elmhurst Health

  • Wearing a shirt proclaiming him "First Boy Born in 2021," newborn Maverick snuggles with mom Kratia Franco. He was born at 12:01 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

    Wearing a shirt proclaiming him "First Boy Born in 2021," newborn Maverick snuggles with mom Kratia Franco. He was born at 12:01 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. Advocate Health Care

  • A boy born to Bridget and John Canniff of Grayslake is the year's first baby at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. He was born at 12:05 a.m. and is the couple's third child.

    A boy born to Bridget and John Canniff of Grayslake is the year's first baby at Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. He was born at 12:05 a.m. and is the couple's third child. Advocate Health Care

  • Declyn Walden is the first child of Sydney and Nicholas Walden of Glenview and the first baby born in 2021 at NorthShore Evanston Hospital.

    Declyn Walden is the first child of Sydney and Nicholas Walden of Glenview and the first baby born in 2021 at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. NorthShore Evanston Hospital

  • Benjamin Eli Tucker was born at 4:45 a.m. to Catherine and Michael Tucker at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora.

    Benjamin Eli Tucker was born at 4:45 a.m. to Catherine and Michael Tucker at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora. Rush Copley Medical Center

  • Ella Ross DeNicolo was born at 4:42 a.m. to Joetta Bauer and Mark DeNicolo of Bartlett at Amita Health Women's and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates.

    Ella Ross DeNicolo was born at 4:42 a.m. to Joetta Bauer and Mark DeNicolo of Bartlett at Amita Health Women's and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates. Amita Health

  • Clarissa Sofia Ibarra, with mom Mayra Gomez of Palatine, was the first 2021 baby at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Lake Barrington.

    Clarissa Sofia Ibarra, with mom Mayra Gomez of Palatine, was the first 2021 baby at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Lake Barrington.  Advocate Health Care

  • Javien, born at 1:08 a.m. and held by mom Joseline Cuevas, is the first baby born at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago.

    Javien, born at 1:08 a.m. and held by mom Joseline Cuevas, is the first baby born at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. Advocate Health Care

  • Gianna Ulloa, born to Karina and Jorge Ulloa of Chicago, was the first baby of the new year at Elmhurst Hospital.

    Gianna Ulloa, born to Karina and Jorge Ulloa of Chicago, was the first baby of the new year at Elmhurst Hospital. Edward-Elmhurst Health

 
 
Updated 1/2/2021 5:22 PM

Monika and Darius Kizys expected their daughter to be born in 2021, but having her arrive in the first hours of the new year was a surprise.

Baby Amelia was born at 5:20 a.m. at Edward Hospital in Naperville.

 

"She was 10 days early so this was a surprise for us," Darius Kizys said of their second child.

The Naperville couple's daughter was among the first babies born in the suburbs in 2021, ushering in optimism and hope following an unforgettable year.

Baby boy Maverick likely was the first baby born in 2021 in the Chicago area, arriving at 12:01 a.m. at Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn.

Maverick is the seventh child of mom Kratia Franco and dad Marlon Franco of Crete. He weighted 7 pounds, 6 ounces.

In Libertyville, a baby boy was born at 12:05 a.m. at Advocate Condell Medical Center. Parents Bridget and John Canniff said they were excited to be starting 2021 with a new bundle of joy. The to-be-named arrival is the third child for the Grayslake couple.

A baby girl was born at 1:04 a.m. at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. Parents Angelica Gonzalez and Andrew Spence are from Mundelein.

At Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital near Barrington, 7-pound Clarissa Sofia Ibarra was born at 2:46 a.m. to Mayra Gomez of Palatine.

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Ella Ross DeNicolo was born at 4:42 a.m. to Joetta Bauer and Mark DeNicolo of Bartlett at Amita Health Women's and Children's Hospital in Hoffman Estates.

And at Rush Copley Medical Center in Aurora, Benjamin Eli Tucker was born at 4:45 a.m. to Catherine and Michael Tucker.

Sydney and Nicholas Walden of Glenview are the parents of Declyn Walden, their first child and the first of the new year at NorthShore Evanston Hospital. She was born at 5:28 a.m.

And it was 9:16 a.m. before Gianna Ulloa was born to Karina and Jorge Ulloa of Chicago at Elmhurst Hospital.

Parents of the newborns faced added challenges because of the coronavirus. Hospitals have been under visitor restrictions during the pandemic and only one support person has been allowed to be with expectant mothers.

Monika and Darius Kizys said guarding against COVID-19 infection wasn't easy during pregnancy.

"It was hard to not see people through the holidays. We felt isolated but now we have a bigger family," Darius Kizys said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The expectant mom had been having contractions all day and awoke from a nap just before midnight. It was go time at about five minutes into the new year. Everything went smoothly.

"We're all healthy and happy. It's a surprise for us," Monika said from her hospital bed Friday morning. She expected to go home Saturday.

Monika said she had been worried the rules would change and Darius wouldn't be allowed in the hospital for the delivery and had been concerned about what might have happened if she had tested positive for COVID-19.

"I was a little more anxious," she said. "We were cautious and making decisions that kind of balanced everything."

She said she was happy Amelia waited until after midnight.

"No one is liking the year of 2020 and she's a 2021 baby," she said. "It's better, I think."

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