St. Thomas and St. Croix Welcome First Babies of 2019

Zaiya Monaé Burnette, the first baby born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019, with her mother Leah Edwards and father Vernal Burnette. (Photo courtesy of Leah Edwards)

The first baby born in the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2019 is Zaiya Monaé Burnette of St. Thomas. Zaiya was born at 3:31 a.m. Jan 1, weighing 8 pounds 9 ounces.

“I’m just glad she is here and healthy and beautiful and I’m so happy to have her,” mother Leah Edwards said Thursday.

“I wasn’t expecting her to be born on New Year’s Day at all. I was expecting her on her due date but she had other plans for us. Sometimes being late is a good thing,” she said.

Leah said her daughter Zaiya’s name is a phonetic combination of her own name and “Ziggy,” the nickname for the baby’s father, Vernal Burnette.

“I googled it and it means “the gift,” Leah said.

St. Croix’s first baby Matthias Hector Wheelock with sister Kaylee Quvedo, mother, Aida Marrero and father Matthew Wheelock. (Photo courtesy of Gov. Juan F. Luis Hospital)

St. Croix’s first baby is Matthias Hector Wheelock, born Jan. 2 around 7:55 a.m., weighing 7 pounds, 3.2 ounces and measuring 52 centimeters in length (20.5 inches). Mother Aida Marrero and baby are doing well, say hospital officials. Gov. Juan F. Luis Acting CEO Dyma Williams presented the mother and baby with gifts Thursday, including a car seat and stroller and a gift bag with assorted baby items on behalf of the JFL administration and staff; a “diaper cake” from the JFL Women and Children’s Unit, a gift bag from Chey’s Baby Store and a gold hook bracelet from Luv Kids/Perfection Jewelry Store.