Virginie Emmanuelle Ngono, born at 1:12 a.m. on New Year’s Day, arrived early, long before Mom and Dad were expecting her entry into the world.

Virginie was born at Maine Medical Center in Portland as a 27-week-old pre-term baby, at 2 pounds, 8 ounces, and 14.6 inches long. A full-term baby is born at 39 weeks or later.

“So far there is no major issue with her. She is doing good,” said her mother, Michele Kouanzoua, 35, of Biddeford. “It’s a marvelous new year for us. We were not expecting her to come so early. It’s a blessing. We are thankful.”

Virginie Emmanuelle Ngono Courtesy of Maine Medical Center

Virginie is the fourth child for Kouanzoua, a case manager with Catholic Charities, and her husband, Armand Ngono, 38, a systems engineer. Their other children are Raphael, 7, Samuel, 4, and Marie Chloe, 2.

Kouanzoua said Virginie is expected to be in the neonatal intensive care unit at Maine Med until late April, although she could be released home early if she is doing well.

She said for 2022 they are hoping “that we can get through this pandemic and life goes on.”


Virginie is one of several New Year’s Day babies born across Maine.

At St. Mary’s in Lewiston, Grace-Glow Star Whitney was born at 12:36 a.m., possibly the first baby born in Maine in the new year.

Destinie Brown and Alex Whitney of Auburn with their child, Grace-Glow Star Whitney. Courtesy of St. Mary’s Health System

Grace-Glow weighs 6 pounds, 12 ounces and measures 19.69 inches long. Her parents are mom Destinie Brown and dad Alex Whitney of Auburn.

“Grace-Glow is a gift to the world and a dream come true, and she entered the world right on New Year’s Day!” her mother said.

Jesse Dodge IV was born at 1:29 a.m. on Saturday at MaineGeneral Medical Center in Augusta, to mom Jamie Maroon and father Jesse Dodge III of Fairfield. The newborn weighed 8 pounds, 3 ounces.

Maroon, 23, works at Educare in Waterville, in the Headstart program with infants and preschool-age children. Dodge, 24, is a delivery driver for Pine State Beverage and an assistant football coach for Lawrence High School. Maroon joked that Dodge already has “big plans” for their baby to play football.

“It’s already planned out,” she said. “He has a Lawrence Football onesie and everything.”

Other babies born on New Year’s Day in Maine include Bailey Nichols, a girl, born at 2:08 a.m. at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, to Hannah and Payson Nichols of Bangor, at 7 pounds, 19.25 inches; and Hudson Hunter Ellis, a boy, born at 6:07 a.m. at Northern Light Mercy Hospital in Portland, to Alaechia and Ben Ellis of Gardiner.

Emily Duggan of the Kennebec Journal contributed to this report.

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