‘I hope he grows healthy and happy’: Elated mother shares birth story of Toronto’s first 2022 baby

By Lucas Casaletto

We’re nearly one whole day into the new year, and many babies have already been born. Toronto’s first 2022 baby was born at Humber River Hospital at midnight.

He’s a baby boy called Maverick.

The new mother — 36-year-old Sreyphea Chheang of Cambodia and a current student at York University — moved to Toronto in 2009 and met her partner, Maverick’s dad, Sambaph, a short time later.

An elated Chheang tells CityNews, “no words can describe” the feeling of giving birth. She says COVID-19 protocols made the process more challenging, but she’s grateful to hospital staff for their care.

“All I hope is he grows healthy and happy. That’s all. That’s the most important. To be happy,” Chheang said. “I want to thank all of the doctors, nurses and staff that made this happen. Happy New Year’s, stay safe.”

The doctor who delivered him, Dr. Lesley Hawkins, says Maverick was born during a rather intense shift.

“It started at 7:30 a.m. [on Friday] and finished, actually this [Saturday] morning, a little bit later around 9:30 a.m.,” Hawkins told CityNews on Saturday.

The Humber River Hospital doctor says there was a medical indication for Maverick to be delivered, and with the timing of the unit and the way things aligned, it just so happened he was born at midnight.


Toronto nurses celebrate the first baby born in 2022.

“It was amazing. It was a magical moment for the family and for our team. It felt awesome, we had the whole team in there, and they were counting down to midnight as the baby was born. It was a celebratory night.”

Hawkins says hospital staff in the birthing unit have felt the effects of a recent surge in COVID-19 cases, making it a burden to keep everyone safe and comfortable.

“For us, that means prioritizing patient safety as much as we can and maintaining our own safety with PPE as much as we can to continue coming into work and look after our patients,” she said. “We have come up with novel ways to connect with patients and connect with families. That means less visitors on the birthing unit at times like this when there is a delivery.”

Humber River Hospital shared the news on social media, saying, “the two are thrilled to begin 2022 with their little bundle of joy.”

Congratulations to all parents welcoming their #NewYearsBabies today.”

Mississauga’s first baby was born at 12:09 a.m. at Trillium Health Partners on the Queensway; a baby boy named Nathan.

“Both of us feel fantastic with a great start to our New Year!” the parents said as part of a news release.

“We wish everyone health and happiness and dearly wish 2022 will bring a year full of joy and unforgettable memories.”

York Region’s first baby is a girl called Amina, who was born at 3:11 a.m. at the Cortelluci Vaughan hospital.

With files from Julie Arounlasy of CityNews 

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