Cubs fans have more than a trophy to show for the Chicago team's victory in the World Series against the Cleveland Indians last year: trophy babies.
Those are the little ones that showed up at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital
in Barrington nine months after the team’s momentous achievement.
“We calculated nine months after the World Series. We thought these little ones would be coming,” said Mary Terry, the hospital’s Women, and Infants Service Line manager. “We were waiting for them.”
Her instincts were confirmed on July 16, the day Natalie Pelnar gave birth to baby Addison.
“I was talking to her and she said she and her husband wouldn’t have been here if it wasn’t for the Cubs,” Terry said. “That’s when I knew it was happening. We had World Series babies right here.”
was followed by Theo
, and then a little one named Maddux
. Others followed.
Addison's parents, Natalie and Joseph Pelnar
of Schaumburg, had just gotten married in 2016 and weren't trying to have a baby, but when the Cubs clinched a spot in the World Series, they decided to give it a try.
"We said to each other, 'Do you want to try just once?' " Natalie said.
Well, the couple went 1 for 1 that day. Less than 24 hours after the Cubs won the Series, Natalie took an early-response pregnancy test: Bingo! It was positive.
They decided that a boy would be a Clark or an Addison (both Wrigleyville street names). A girl might have been a Wrigley. The rest is history.
"We got engaged, married, the Cubs won the World Series, and we found out I was pregnant all in 2016. What a year!" said Natalie, who decided to have her first little one at Good Shepherd in Barrington rather than closer to home in Schaumburg because she loves Good Shepherd’s intimate OB environment. “Our next baby definitely will be born at Good Shepherd,” she said.
All of this was fitting for a couple whose 2013 first date involved a wager over how soon the Cubs would win the Series. Natalie lost the bet, but both she and hubby won on a much bigger score.
Unlike Addison's parents, Theo's mom and dad, Erin and Dave Hettinger
of Barrington, had been trying to get pregnant. Little did they know that the Cubs saved just a little magic for them on the night of the World Series triumph, when the couple decided to give their quest a bit more effort. They soon would find out that another little fan would be joining their roster.
"Growing up, it was a sin in our house to be anything but a Cubs fan," Erin said. Thus the last nine months have been a time of major acquisitions: Cubs toys and clothes, none more meaningful than the 1984 Cubs vintage jacket they received from Erin's godparents. Erin’s grandparents had given it years ago to her cousin. When asked if she could picture little Theo wearing it someday, Erin choked up and said, “That jacket is super-special.”
Oh, and as for the name: Their dog had already taken Maddon, for team skipper Joe Maddon. So they went right to the top of the team organization, naming their son after the Cubs’ president of baseball operations, Theo Epstein:
"Theo always felt right," Erin said.
Both families were invited to a Cubs event celebrating World Series babies at one of Good Shepherd’s sister hospitals, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Wrigleyville. Clark the Cub
visited, and the families had their photos were taken with him and the World Series trophy. The babies received complimentary Newborn Fan Club memberships, “Rookie of the Year” onesies and Cubs pinstripe beanie caps.
So baby boom or not, was Cubs fever a "thing" in Chicagoland hospital nurseries?
It might be, it could be, it is!