Meeting the new year with a new baby at Madigan

By Kirstin Grace-SimonsJanuary 2, 2023

Riley sleeps in the mountain's shadow
Riley, the first baby born in 2023 at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., dozes in the shadow of the great mountain on Jan. 2. Her parents just barely made it to the hospital before she was born, she was so eager to meet the world. (Photo Credit: Kirstin Grace-Simons) VIEW ORIGINAL

MADIGAN ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. – Majestic Tahoma, the ancient name of what is commonly called Mt. Rainier, peeked through the fog on a chilly morning, Riley’s first full day. Madigan’s first baby born in 2023 slept easy in the morning calm.

Riley first made her appearance at 1:02 a.m. on New Year’s Day. She was in a big rush to get her life started.

Mom Lanie felt her water break at 11:56 p.m. on Dec. 31, starting a race just to get to Madigan before Riley came.

Dad called out the bumps in the road so mom could prepare herself and let her know their location to reassure her they were making progress towards the delivery room as quickly as possible.

“I didn't even have a chance to take off my shirt to change to my gown,” said Lanie.

Though she felt some of the early contractions that serve to prepare the uterus for birth the week prior, it all went so quickly for this, her second time around.

“All of a sudden, it was just intense,” Lanie said. “I feel like I almost gave birth in the car. I’m so glad we made it.”

The couple didn’t get fully in-processed, and the nursing staff didn’t get an IV put in before everyone was focused on nothing but little Riley’s entrance to the world.

Lanie asked for an epidural like she had with her first delivery, but the nurse told her no, saying, “We don’t have time.”

Just an hour into the new year, Riley presented all 6 pounds, 2 ounces and 19 inches of herself.

Being from the local area, Riley’s older sister Charlotte was hanging out with grandparents while mom and dad were busy at the hospital.

Dad said Charlotte, who is almost three, doesn’t really know what is going on as far as a new sister is concerned. But mom noted she does have a baby doll she carries with her almost everywhere she goes. So, she will probably catch on pretty quickly.

Just a day into her life and Riley is clearly a different kid from her big sis. She had no trouble getting going with eating and she’s just a calm, relaxed baby.

With dad approaching retirement eligibility from the Army, the family has seen their share of moves, both around the country and overseas.

When Charlotte was born, they were stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., but living 45 minutes from the hospital on post meant they delivered at a civilian hospital.

This time, with Riley, they have been pleasantly surprised with how nice the facility at Madigan is.

They ticked off a number of things they have noticed- from top notch equipment, more supplies and a big, private room.

Lanie did not overlook the staff either, mentioning how professional and helpful they have all been, even in offering advice for potential future family additions.

“The nurse told me, if I if I'm going to have another baby, I think it's the best idea to come over here earlier because I have a really fast labor,” she said.

Lanie’s appreciation for this birthing experience didn’t stop with the facility and the staff. After Riley was born, she thanked her husband for working so hard to ensure that she had such a beautiful place to give birth.

With the mountain and a brand-new baby making appearances on a crisp and sunny Northwest day, the new year is looking good already.

Riley sleeps
Riley, the first baby born in 2023 at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., is as mellow as the great mountain on her first full day of life, Jan. 2. (Photo Credit: Kirstin Grace-Simons) VIEW ORIGINAL

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