Mon, July 15

Busy year for the stork: Nearly 600 babies born in Verde Valley in 2001

Courtesy photo

Proud sister Emma is excited about having her new baby Mary Eloise join the family, says the girls' mother Laura Conway. Nearly 600 babies were born in 2001 at Verde Valley Medical Center and Mary Eloise is one of the first new residents of 2002.

Joy – New mothers and old agree, it's just one of the many benefits of having a new bundle in the house.

Like Julia Arredondo, a mother for the first time Jan 1, 2002.

Her daughter, Santina Nevaeh Arredondo was born at 9:05 a.m. on New Year's Day.

"It's changed me a lot," says the Camp Verde resident. "It's very different. I've grown up."

And as the first baby of the New Year approaches the 7-pound mark, Julia is committed to building a life, "not so much for me, but so Santina can have a good life."

With almost one year of experience in the demanding field of diaper changes and late night feedings, Cottonwood resident Jane Beal says motherhood takes more than just learning how to function on little sleep.

"Patience, I've learned to have patience," she says.

And for Beal it's created an appetite for an education.

"I want to go back to school," says the mother of Maya. "It's important to me that I become a mom my daughter can respect and admire. That's what is guiding my decisions now."

Before motherhood, Beal was content to call many places home.

"I used to be a roamer and move from place to place on a second's notice," she says. "But now, I want everything to be perfect and stable for Maya."

Laura Conway knows nothing about perfection, but the mother of two says she knows plenty about change. Mary Eloise joined her toddler sister in the family home the second week in January.

"My mother's here. When she leaves I'm definitely going to be in trouble," laughs the Oak Creek Valley resident who says she's learned a lot about multi-tasking in the past three years. Balancing the life of a dancer and business owner with the needs of a baby wasn't always easy, but Laura says she knew that from the beginning.

"I was really scared to be a mom, I had a very busy life and I didn’t know if I would be able to fit her in my life," she explains. "I found out I fit myself into her life."

And now at home with a preschooler and a new baby, Laura says she is re-assessing the important things in life.

"It's kind of frustrating to decide whether to put more energy into my career or put more energy in doing things with my kids," she explains as her new baby fusses in the background.

For now, Laura's hope for the future is right in her arms.

"I just want to focus on my kids," she says. "They are the most important thing."

New residents of the Verde Valley

Verde Valley Medical Center reported 587 deliveries in 2001. The majority of babies were Caucasian at 71 percent, second were Hispanic at 26 percent, African American and Asian infants made up 5 percent of the total and 4 percent of babies born in 2001 were to Native American parents. In 2000, 586 total births were reported by VVMC. The majority of infants were Caucasian at 68 percent while 46 percent were of Native American ethnicity. Hispanic infants made up 26 percent of total births, African American infants made up 3 percent of infants born while 2 percent were of Asian descent. All infants born at Verde Valley Medical Center now receive a Universal Newborn Hearing Screening Test.