By Dan Hust
HARRIS January 6, 2006 Catskill Regional Medical Centers maternity ward was filled Monday with people who have been there before.
In fact, this was Ellenville resident Christina Basdens fourth trip to Harris, and this time, she was crowned as Sullivan Countys first new mother of 2006.
Hakim Vazquez Jr. hadnt yet opened his eyes on Monday, but he had entered the world the day before, at 6:36 p.m. on January 1, thus becoming the first baby born in the county in the new year.
Proud father Hakim Vazquez Sr., also of Ellenville, sat near mom and son as Babies R Us Store Promotional Coordinator Yvonne Villanueva handed them a gift basket filled with baby items valued at $100 from the Middletown store.
And it didnt take much to figure out the parents were quite pleased with the hospital and the care of midwife Helen Burke.
Not only were Basdens two other children Alexander, 6, and Aleena, 5 born in Harris, so was she . . . in 1983.
And that goes for the senior Vazquez, as well, who was born at the former Community General Hospital of Sullivan County in 1979.
Back to 2006, little Hakim, weighing in at just 7 pounds and 1.5 ounces, turned out to be early. At 21 inches long, he entered the world nearly two weeks ahead of his due date.
His Aunt Jessica drove up from New Jersey just to see me have the baby, said Basden.
Mom and son are now doing fine.
It was quick this time, she remarked of the four-hour labor, beaming with happiness and relief.
In addition to the rest of his family, Hakim is due to be welcomed home by Basdens mom and dad, Jose and Theresa Torres.
And local merchants are celebrating too, as thanks to a Democrat-sponsored contest, Hakims parents have won a $20 gift certificate to any Pecks Market in the county, a $25 gift certificate to the Little Duck House baby shop in Jeffersonville, a $50 savings bond from the Callicoon branch of the Bank of America, dinner for two at both the Eldred Preserve and the Club at Villa Roma, and a one-year subscription to the Sullivan County Democrat.