Newborn arrives 41 minutes into New Year

THE ADVANCE’S first baby of 2013, being held here by his mother Tiffany Bennett, was not only the first from Presque Isle County, but probably the first across northern Michigan. Fisher James Mertz-LaFleche was born at 12:41 a.m. on New Year’s Day. His father is Josh LaFleche (left). Fisher was welcomed home by big brother Taylor (middle). (Photo by Peter Jakey)

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

It didn’t take long to crown Fisher James Mertz-LaFleche the first baby of 2013. The son of Josh LaFleche, 21, and Tiffany Bennett, 19, was born 41 minutes into the new year. LaFleche is a 2009 Rogers City High School graduate, while Bennett is from Hillman. The couple resides in Rogers City. Some champagne bottles still had a little bubbly to finish off when this newborn took his first breath at McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital of Petoskey. There have been many years when it has taken a few weeks for a winner to be declared.

This year, there were a handful of phone calls that came in after the first-time father contacted the Advance office. Fisher is not only the Advance’s first baby, but he was the hospital’s as well. A couple from Alanson had the first baby of Emmet County nearly four hours later. A total of five babies were born at the hospital on Jan. 1. Fisher received a bag of stuffed animals and diapers from the hospital for being the official first baby.

Fisher arrived early, as his mother’s due date wasn’t until Jan. 17. Tiffany was traveling from Hillman on Dec. 30 2012, where her family had conducted a “diaper shower.” “I started to not feel well,” said Tiffany. Her water broke as the couple pulled into the Bayport parking lot in Rogers City. They didn’t stay in Rogers City long, as the couple continued the drive to Petoskey. He weighed 6 pounds, 10 ounces and measured 19 inches in length. He was welcomed home by Taylor, 2, Tiffany’s first son.

“He’s been great,” said Josh. “It’s been easy. We have big boy Taylor to help us out.” He sleeps a lot, Josh said, but it’s all been during the day. Fisher’s grandparents are Molly and Jason LaFleche of Rogers City, and Brenda and Gregory Bennett Sr. of Hillman.

His great grandparents include Ardith Mertz of Rogers City, Karen and Glen LaFleche of Presque Isle, Irene Bennett and George Bennett, both of Hillman.