Gunnison Valley Hospital on pace to deliver more than 30 babies
There has been a bumper crop of babies born this month in Gunnison County, and so far experts have been unable to definitively answer why, although theories such as low barometric pressure, sparse last-season snow and heating problems abound.
When queried about the recent drove of deliveries, Gunnison Valley Hospital obstetrics nurse Janet Linn referred to the gas outage in Crested Butte during a particularly frigid spell exactly nine months ago.
Whether or not the gas outage drove young couples to drastic warming measures cannot be scientifically ascertained, but according to Linn, babies are being born by the bundle.
“We’ve had 20 born so far this month,” says Linn.
With a dozen more scheduled, the valley’s October birth rate will far exceed the monthly norm, which averages out to approximately 150 babies born per year.
And while the science isn’t yet settled, Linn also suggests that the drop in barometric pressure during this season’s first storm may have spurred several expectant mothers into labor.
“We had a bunch that day,” Linn says of October’s first significant snowfall.
“It’s an old wives’ tale that the drop in pressure precipitates these things,” she adds. “That and the full moon.”
First-time mother Katie Mueller says she thinks she and her husband were a little late for the gas outage, but Anika Mae was born on October 18, just after the first snow of the year.
“We woke up to lots of snow,” she says of the day last week when Anika came into the world.
And not only did the storm blow angelic Anika into the valley, but Mueller says five additional babies were born the very same day.
“It was kind of hectic at the hospital,” she says. “Dr. Niccoli has her work cut out for her.”
Born on October 19, little Merrick Jeffery missed the storm, and his parents were traveling abroad during the gas leak, defying the conventional wisdom of cause and effect.
Merrick’s mom, Jennifer, says she thinks the recent baby boom is related to a maturing community.
“It’s a young town getting older,” she says.
But Jennifer likes the trend. “I think it’s great,” she says.
She’s already thinking ahead toward Merrick’s academic career, however. “It’s going to be a big class,” she says. “We’re going to need a bigger school.”
Six-pound, five-ounce Hailey Evelyn Huresky was born a few days before the storm, and proud first-time father Gary says things are exciting in the Huresky home.
“I haven’t slept yet,” he laughs.
Despite Hailey’s pre-storm arrival, Papa Huresky thinks the low-pressure theory does have merit.
“They had a record year for babies in Denver with all those storms last year,” he says. “I think they had 29 born in Denver General in one night.”
Hailey’s mom, Carolyn, thinks that storms might have had something to do with the burst of valley babies, but she says it was the lack of snow that was the deciding factor.
“There wasn’t much to do since the snow was so bad,” she says.
While the results may not be conclusive, it appears from the data collected so far that the only hope of things returning to normal for the delivery staff at Gunnison Valley Hospital will be a winter season with good snow (though not too many storms) and no gas outages.