The capitol region’s 2011 ambassador of hope and possibility — Baby New Year Roxana Santos — arrived in fine form at 12:01 Saturday morning in a delivery room at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, her parents tired, grateful and resting well.

“I think it is special,” said her dad, Rene Santos, 33, referring to his daughter’s fortuitous timing. “She is the best gift we have gotten so far.”

Besides heralding the new decade, the littlest Santos — the third child for Santos and his wife, Ana Cuellar, who live in Germantown and are originally from El Salvador — is a sign of the region’s and the nation’s booming Hispanic population.

More than half of Maryland’s 66,000 new residents in 2009 were Hispanic. And in Virginia, Hispanics represented a third of the state’s 113,000 new residents, part of a fundamental shift in a nation that is becoming increasingly minority. The rise in the country’s Hispanic population is being driven less by immigration these days than high birthrates, according to the census.

But on Saturday, only a single number preoccupied Santos and his wife: one.

Roxana is the first daughter for the couple, who have two sons and met in an English class six years ago. She is named for her grandmothers, both called Rosa, and her mother Ana, who went into labor after she finished cooking Friday about 6 p.m. Her husband, who works in construction, took her to the hospital in Rockville, and about 10 p.m. she was being wheeled into the delivery room.

Santos said he wasn’t so much looking at the clock as trying to remember his duties from birthing classes. But as the labor continued, the nurses began buzzing about the approaching hour.

“I heard the whole staff saying it could be the New Year’s baby, but I wasn’t paying too much attention,” he said. “We were just trying to go step by step. I just wanted to make sure they were both okay.”

About a half-hour after Roxana arrived, he said, a doctor delivered the news. “That’s when we found out — that maybe we had the first baby of the year.”