Carlos Enrique Fuentes

Carlos Enrique Fuentes was the first baby born in 2012 at Howard County General Hospital, arriving at 2:24 a.m. Jan. 1. Carlos' mother, Beatriz Bermudez, and father, Carlos Fuentes, of Columbia, are joined by big sister Priscila for a family portrait. (Photo by Jill Myers / January 6, 2012)

This little one dropped into the world not long after the ball dropped signaling the start of 2012 — a few days before he was expected.

Carlos Enrique Fuentes was born at 2:24 a.m. on Jan. 1, making him the first baby of the year at Howard County General Hospital in Columbia, the county's only hospital.

He weighed seven pounds and 12 ounces and measured 20 inches long.

His parents are Carlos Fuentes, 22, and Beatriz Bermudez, 27, both of Columbia, and his older sister is 10-year-old Priscila.

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Bermudez said the baby had been due Jan. 5.

"I was having dinner with my family when the pain came, and I had to go to the hospital," she said in a telephone interview Jan. 5. "We were kind of prepared for that. It was great — it was the best gift for a new year."