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Meet the New Year baby

South Florida, meet one of your newest 2011 neighbors: Grace Jarquin.

The 20.7-inch-long baby girl made her debut at Jackson South Community Hospital shortly after midnight on Jan. 1, weighing in at 8 pounds, 9.6 ounces. She is reportedly South Florida's first child born in the year.

Her mom, Virginia Miranda Pérez, 38, arrived in labor at Jackson at about 8:30 p.m. New Year's Eve. Carina Ryder, a certified nurse midwife, reports "I was there to catch the baby" at 12:21 a.m.

Both mom and daughter are healthy, Ryder said. Grace is the South Dade family's fourth daughter.

"It's something special," said Miranda Pérez, of her daughter being called South Florida's first baby born in 2011.

She and her husband, Abel Ignacio Jarquin, 34, who are both from Mexico and met in Florida, didn't plan on having more children. They decided on the name "Grace" after the pregnancy surprised the family, who live in a trailer in the Redland.

"I wanted to name her 'Alta Gracia' because she came by the grace of God on high," Jarquin said.

"But then [my wife] said no, that's an ugly name that she didn't like, so we decided to name her Grace. It's the same name but in English," said Jarquin, a horseshoe blacksmith.

Less than an hour later, at nearby Baptist Hospital, a Kendall couple gave birth to Lenox Hernandez, believed to be South Florida's first boy of 2011.

He was born at 1 a.m., weighs just over 7 pounds and is 20.5 inches long, said hospital spokeswoman Barbara Moore.

Parents Emelia and Lenin Hernandez, who are 24 and 27 and Nicaraguan-American, expected their second child to be born Jan. 14. But he came two weeks early.

"I'm very happy and grateful that he's a healthy baby," mom Emelia said Saturday morning. "Everything else is just extra blessings."

Lenox has an older brother, 5-year-old Lenin.