Twin sisters Emersyn (blue) and Brooklyn (pink), 10 months old; Killian, 7 months old; and Aurora, 3 months old. Photo by Mason Callejas

The New Year baby has long symbolized the opportunity for fresh beginnings. For parents expecting an infant in 2018, the start of a new life can bring as much fear as it does excitement.

A few local moms who gave birth last year said bringing a baby home to Maricopa doesn’t have to be scary for parents – so long as they’re prepared.

One obvious service missing in Maricopa for expectant parents is a hospital and birthing center, so navigating State Route 347 as due dates draw near is a common worry for soon-to-be mothers.

Kelly Campbell and her twin daughters Emersyn and Brooklyn spend time time at the library, which Campbell said is one of the few places to take babies for recreation. Photo by Mason Callejas

It became a very real fear for Christine Avino, who was stuck in traffic on the 347 earlier this year with her contractions only minutes apart.

Before she left home, an accident involving a motorcycle clogged the main route to the hospital.

“Don’t take the chance of ‘Oh I have plenty of time,’” Avino said. “You never know if you have plenty of time, especially on that long road.”

Luckily for Avino, she arrived at the hospital in time and later gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Killian.

Avino suggested parents leave for the hospital as soon as they suspect labor may be on its way, just in case the 347 greets them with its notorious delays.

Having a backup plan for trips to the hospital is also the advice of Maricopa resident Kelly Campbell. During her high-risk pregnancy with twins, Campbell traveled weekly to the Valley for prenatal appointments.

“Have a backup plan, always, especially with the 347. It was always on my mind,” Campbell said.

Her husband’s hectic work schedule meant Campbell prepared for emergency trips to the hospital by ensuring two other people were always available to drive her there.

Campbell’s fear of giving birth on SR 347 ended when her twin girls, Brooklyn and Emersyn, were born by scheduled C-section 10 months ago.

Local mother Rhiannon Williams also recommended being prepared by meeting with potential pediatricians and reviewing hospitals before the baby’s arrival to ensure the medical services are the right fit for their families.

Williams is the mother of 3-month-old Aurora, her second child. With her eldest, Williams recalled worrying over every cough and mild fever.

She suggests new parents not sweat the small stuff.

“I learned that not everything with your first born is an emergency,” Williams said. “I delivered my second daughter at Mercy Gilbert in September and have since realized that a lot of things that I was so worried about before are not as big of a deal or as bad as I though they would be with my second.”

This story appears in the January issue of InMaricopa.