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Say hello to Dickinson's first 2022 baby

Grace and Jeromy Dailey, of Dickinson, held their son Heath Ian in their home Thursday afternoon, in awe and excitement of their recently welcomed miracle.

Jeromy and Grace Dailey with their newborn son Heath Ian at their home in Dickinson Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. Heath Dailey was born at 5:19 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center — the hospital's first baby of the new year. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)
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DICKINSON — Dickinson’s newest baby on the block entered the world Tuesday morning after New Year celebrations simmered and North Dakota’s winter gusts ushered in a roaring welcome.

Grace and Jeromy Dailey, of Dickinson, welcomed their son Heath Ian at 5:19 a.m. Tuesday at CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center — the hospital's first baby of the new year. Born 10 days before his mother’s due date — which was scheduled for Jan. 13 — Heath weighed 6 pounds and 4 ounces and measured 19.5 inches long. Grace said that they went in at about 2 a.m.

As a first-time mother, Grace was told by her doctor to show up a little early and expect a long delivery. But just a little over three hours later, Heath was born.

“It happened really quickly,” Grace said, giggling and looking at her husband on the couch as she held her newborn son. “There was a lot of chaos happening at that time. But yeah, it went really well.”


Overcome with happiness and joy, Jeromy, left, and Grace Dailey smile with their newborn son Heath Ian at their home in Dickinson Thursday, Jan. 6, 2022. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

Being the youngest of three siblings, Grace, 31, has been an aunt for some time.

“It’s crazy to actually have one of my own now,” she said. “I can’t just pawn it off on them when it’s time to leave.”

For Jeromy, who's 41 and works as a mechanic at Tooz Construction Inc., this wasn't his first trip into the delivery room as Heath marks the birth of his third son.

Grace added, “He’s used to it; it’s all routine for him.”

Swaddled in a blanket, Heath Ian Dailey opens his eyes for the camera, hours after his mother Grace Dailey gave birth to him at 5:19 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at CHI St. Alexius Health Dickinson Medical Center — the hospital's first 2022 baby. (Jackie Jahfetson / The Dickinson Press)

The married couple, who tied the knot in 2019, had always talked about starting their own family.


"It took a while, but it was definitely something that we were looking forward to for quite a while," Grace remarked.

Naming their newborn son was happenstance.

“We were sitting around the table one night and I was only like three months pregnant and we had started talking about… names. Then just randomly, the combination ‘Heath Ian’ popped into his head and we liked it then (and) said, ‘Yeah, we’ll keep it on the short list,'” Grace said, smiling at Jeromy. “As soon as we saw him, we knew that was the one we were gonna have to go with.”

As the first parents to welcome a newborn for 2022 on the Western Edge, Grace said it has been an array of emotions.

“It’s really weird,” she said, laughing. “I thought ( on) New Year’s Eve (at) 2 o’clock in the morning, somebody else was gonna have their New Year’s baby already. So the fact that it waited until the fourth was very odd.”

As the two parents admired their newborn son Thursday at their home in Dickinson, Grace recalled that her pregnancy during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was not as worrisome as some might think. But she did mention that parents shouldn't always count on everything going according to the plan.

"... Because the vague plan that we did have was definitely not what played out. Just kind of go with the flow," she said, adding, "Luckily, the nurses and doctors and everybody else knows how to handle it. They were awesome."

Upon being released from the hospital just one day after her delivery, it's all about working in a new routine now, she said, adding that she'll be on maternity leave for a while before returning to her recently appointed position as a billing representative at Southwest Water Authority .


Though Heath was born rather early, he is healthy and already giving his parents some attitude.

"Oh, he's very stubborn. But that's not surprising because that's a trait we both have," Grace said.

During a time of such uncertainty, Grace noted her bliss as a mother and for future mothers as a gift.

"I hope it's one of many more to come. I saw on the Facebook page that there were over 600 last year. So they get their hands full. We have at least 10 friends that are due within the next six months. So the first of many that they're going to have that's for sure,” she added.

Jackie Jahfetson is a graduate of Northern Michigan University whose journalism path began in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan as a freelancer for The Daily Mining Gazette. Her previous roles include editor-in-chief at The North Wind and reporter at The Mining Journal in Marquette, Mich. Raised on a dairy farm, she immediately knew Dickinson would be her first destination west as she focuses on gaining aptitude for ranch life, crop farming and everything agriculture. She covers hard news stories centered on government, fires, crime and education. When not fulfilling deadlines and attending city commission meetings, she is a budding musician and singer.
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