First baby born at Arrowhead 28 years ago returns for her own extra special delivery
Lauren Tafoya, Abrazo Arrowhead Campus
At Abrazo Arrowhead Campus, every delivery is special. But little Preston Tafoya kicked things up a notch.
Preston’s mother Lauren Tafoya was the first baby ever born at the formerly named Arrowhead Community Hospital when it opened its doors in 1988. So when Lauren became pregnant with her son nearly 30 years later, she turned to Arrowhead for her delivery.
“It is just really heartwarming knowing that I was able to have the opportunity to deliver there,” Lauren said. “There are not very many people that are able to say that they were the first baby ever born at a hospital, and then also be able to have one of their children there as well.”
Lauren’s parents, Muriel and Larry Ornelis, were thrilled to see the tradition continue.
“I had such a special time there so I knew she was in good hands,” Muriel said.
Lauren had her first child, Payton Tafoya, 3, at a different West Valley hospital because her physician wasn’t delivering at Arrowhead Campus. “But when I found out I was pregnant with Preston, my doctor had changed offices, and I was able to choose Arrowhead,” she said.
When the time came and Lauren and husband checked into the hospital, the Litchfield Park couple got an unexpected surprise.
“I was shocked that the nurse that checked us in when I was being induced remembered me and my mom because she was one of the nurses working in the hospital when I was born!” Lauren said.
That afternoon, son Preston Alexander came into the world at 6 pounds 7 ounces and 19 inches long. In a story of firsts, Preston was also the first grandson born to Muriel and Larry.
“The whole story has been so special,” Muriel said.
Since Muriel’s delivery 28 years ago, Arrowhead Campus’ programs and services for expectant parents have grown dramatically. Families turn to the hospital because of its long history serving the community and the staff’s unwavering dedication to providing expert care. In fact, the hospital delivers more than 3,200 babies every year.
At Arrowhead Campus, parents can expect experienced birthing experts, attentive nurses and some of the latest in high-tech monitoring equipment. Babies who need extra medical attention after delivery can be cared for at an on-site special care nursery.
Throughout a new mother’s journey, the hospital is focused on providing a broad range of support. For one mother, that may mean an on-call lactation consultant to help with breastfeeding. For another, it may mean postpartum support to address concerns about baby before leaving the hospital.
Care is tailored to meet each mother’s needs – and that hasn’t changed over the decades.
When Muriel and Larry were considering hospitals 28 years ago, Arrowhead Campus – then called Arrowhead Community Hospital - was the logical choice for the Glendale couple.
“Arrowhead was the closest and it was the newest,” Muriel said. “We timed it. We were like 10 minutes away. There was no (Loop) 101 yet, just a bunch of orchards.”
“We went there to visit. All the nurses jumped up and we said, ‘We’re not ready yet! We’re just here to visit.’,” Muriel recalled.
Muriel’s doctor scheduled a C-section for Dec. 13 and Muriel gave birth to Lauren as planned. From there, recalled Larry, “it was one-on-one attention from the nurses.”
Nurses prodded him to go home and get a good night’s sleep, because Muriel and Lauren would have plenty of care as the only maternity patients. They held and rocked the newborn every chance they got. A special announcement made over a loudspeaker encouraged staff to take a peek at the new baby in the nursery. “Everybody in the hospital went to see her,” Larry said.
The hospital even pulled together a special dinner for the new family. In a separate room set up for the occasion, Muriel and Larry enjoyed a steak dinner with Lauren by their side in a bassinette. “It was dinner for three,” Muriel said. “They made it intimate.”
What stands out most, Larry said, were the emotional moments holding his brand new daughter right after delivery. He walked the hallway, showing off his bundle of joy to the delight of hospital staff.
After all these years, Larry still tears up at the memory.
“It was kind of a wonderful thing,” he said.
Disclaimer: Dr. Scott Gulison is an independent physician and is not an employee, agent or representative of Abrazo Arrowhead Campus. He is solely responsible for the provision of his medical services to patients.