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A Day Late: Meet Dickinson's New Years Baby

An hour before midnight, Michelle Huschka and Jeremy Stacey ushered into the world a newborn baby girl, Elizabeth Mary. She is the first baby of the new year born in Dickinson.

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Jeremy Stacey and Michelle Huschka with their baby daughter Elizabeth.
Contributed / CHI St. Alexius
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DICKINSON — On January 2nd at 11:10 p.m., Michelle Huschka and Jeremy Stacey of Dickinson became the proud parents of a baby girl, Elizabeth Mary. Born at CHI St. Alexius hospital, Elizabeth weighed in at 7 pounds and 5 ounces and measured 20.5 inches long. She is the first baby of the new year to be born at the hospital in Dickinson.

Excitement, fear and new responsibilities

For Michelle and Jeremy, the arrival of their daughter Elizabeth Mary was a life-changing moment.

"It's definitely one of the most exciting things that's ever happened to me," Michelle said. “Labor wasn’t the greatest, but it was definitely worth it… It actually went quicker than what I thought it was going to for this being my first,” she said, adding that she hasn’t gotten much sleep. “These first few nights have been very tiring.”

Though the labor was tough, she added that it was 'definitely worth it' and went far quicker than she had anticipated for her first childbirth. In the days since Elizabeth's arrival, Michelle has been dealing with the all-to-common sleep deprivation that accompanies a new born, but says that she has received a warm welcome home from her two dogs, a Saint Bernard named Rora and a German Shepherd named Stella Mae.

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Baby Elizabeth with the two family dogs, Rora and Stella Mae.
Contributed / Michelle Huschka

Becoming a father for the first time is a significant life event that can bring a range of emotions for men. For Jeremy, the experience has been particularly emotional, as he described it as a roller coaster.

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“There’s really no way to describe it. I’ve never felt anything like this… I'm responsible for another person's life and how they are going to be when they grow up. So that's, that's scary in itself; just being responsible for an innocent life,” Jeremy said. “It’s exciting because it’s an adventure and a new road that I get to go down, changes a lot of things in my life.”

Becoming a parent is a major life change that brings with it a tremendous amount of responsibility. As the primary caregivers for their child, parents are responsible for meeting all of their basic needs, including food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. They must also provide love, support, and guidance to help their child grow and develop. This can be a daunting task, especially for new parents who may feel overwhelmed by the demands of parenthood. A realization that Jeremy said was both a blessing and a lofty responsibility.

Nevertheless, Jeremy said he was looking forward to the changes and growth that parenthood will bring and that he and Michelle chose Elizabeth's first and middle names to honor his mother Elizabeth and Michelle's mother Mary.

Newborn New Year traditions

According to the History Channel, the custom of celebrating new life to ring in the new year traces all the way back to ancient Greece. In those days, Greeks paraded an infant in a basket through the town square to commemorate the annual rebirth of Dionysus — their pagan god of wine and fertility.

In popular culture over the decades Baby New Year has often been personified as an infant wearing a diaper, black top hat and sash indicating the year. The depiction was often made more humorous with a grown man playing that role on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno throughout the 1990s.

Related Topics: DICKINSON
Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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