Baby boom in the 'Boat

Births on track to surpass record for month, year

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Nicole Brown and Mike Armstrong hold their newborn boy, Peyton Lee Armstrong, on Friday at the Yampa Valley Medical Center. The hospital is on track to break a record for the number of babies born in August as well as in the entire year.

— A long, cold winter filled with snow is one of the reasons being cited for the baby boom in Steamboat Springs.

In July, 49 babies were born at Yampa Valley Medical Center. That tied the August 2001 record for the most babies born in a single month at the Steamboat hospital.

And this August is shaping up to be a potential record-breaker.

"It's been a busy summer," said Michelle Erps, a registered nurse working in the YVMC obstetrics unit. Erps herself is pregnant and expects to give birth in November.

Peyton Lee Armstrong was the 41st of the 42 babies born this month at the hospital. He was born at 11:15 a.m. Thursday and weighed six pounds and four ounces. The baby's parents, Nicole Brown and Mike Armstrong of Craig, said a lot of their friends have had children recently. Armstrong has a theory for the summer baby boom.

"His theory was it was the winter cold spell," said Brown, who plans to marry Armstrong in August 2007.

With four deliveries scheduled for later this month, the hospital nursing staff thinks there is a good chance for the record to fall. With five days left in the month, there also is plenty of time for mothers who will go into labor naturally.

For the year, the number of births is up significantly. There were 252 deliveries by the end of July, compared to 208 during the same period last year.

As of Friday afternoon, there had been 294 deliveries year to date. The record number of births in one year is 386, set in 2004.

"If I were a betting woman, I'd say we'd beat it," obstetrics nurse manager Alethea Gaume said. "We pride ourselves on knowing that even though everybody's busy, the patients get the care they deserve."

The number of deliveries for the beginning of the year was similar to the same period last year, and the boom appeared to begin in April.

"It's not uncommon that OB will go in cycles," Gaume said. "Although it feels like we're exceptionally busy, there is no telling what the numbers will be at the end of the year."

There have been five sets of twins born so far in 2006 - one in April and two each in May and August, according to numbers provided by YVMC public relations director Christine McKelvie. In June, July and August, mothers gave birth to 75 boys and 59 girls.

On the night of Aug. 14 and into the early morning hours of Aug. 15, there was a spurt of deliveries.

"We did do six deliveries in nine hours," Gaume said. "That was a record."

More deliveries also might mean a larger obstetrics department at the hospital.

"We're looking at further expansion, and we're in the planning process," McKelvie said.

- To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210 or e-mail mstensland@steamboatpilot.com

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