Steeler Nation Welcomes New Arrivals
Newborns at St. Clair Hospital each given a Terrible Towel and a Steelers knit cap.
Little Brayden McQuillan was in the world for less than 10 minutes Friday morning when the staff at St. Clair Hospital wrapped him in a gold Terrible Towel and placed a Steelers knit hat on his tiny head.
“They’re born Steelers fans here in Pittsburgh,” said Sharon Johnson, clinical supervisor at the hospital’s Family Birth Center.
The staff at the hospital in Mt. Lebanon wrapped up 10 newborns in the towels Friday in celebration of the Steelers’ run to Super Bowl XLV. Each baby born this week at the hospital will also be wrapped up in the black and gold, a tradition the staff also did in 2008.
First-time dad Alexander Ameredes said his wife, Rachel, gave birth to their son Alexander on Wednesday, two weeks earlier than predicted. The Collier Township man said he thinks his son wanted to make sure he was around for the big game on Feb. 6.
“I was worried about the Super Bowl,” Ameredes said. “I think he was, too."
Just a few feet away, Joe Laffey, 34, of Bethel Park was gazing at his new daughter, Annabella Grace, born just a couple of hours earlier. Laffey said he and his girlfriend, Samantha Grimm, found out the due date a few months ago and he immediately went to check if it would coincide with the game.
“I already knew when the Super Bowl was, so I did the math and saw it was the bye week,” Laffey said. “I kept telling her during the AFC Championship game, ‘Don’t let your water break!’ I got all hyped up, but she tried to stay relaxed.”
He said the towel blanketing his new daughter would be a lucky charm for the family.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Laffey said. “I got a new baby and a new Terrible Towel. Couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Justin Eitel of Mt. Lebanon couldn’t help but take at least 50 snapshots of his new daughter wrapped up in the towel. He had no doubts about which team she would be rooting for when she grows up.
"She can choose her religion,” Eitel said, “but she can't choose what team she likes."
But it wasn’t just the fathers who were beaming with joy.
Dr. Paul Zubritzky, an obstetrician at St. Clair, delivered four of the babies, including little Brayden just in time to receive his new Steelers swag. He said the mother heard about what was happening and wanted her new son to be part of the celebration.
“She worked hard and got it done, just like the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Zubritzky said. “It’s a special time. You feel like you’re a part of it.”
The hospital previously did this two years ago before the Steelers won Super Bowl XLIII. This time around, though, they had trouble finding Terrible Towels because of the demand before this year’s game.
Destinie Main of Scenery Hill hoped the birth of her second son, Noah, would bring another championship to Pittsburgh. Her first son, Kaden, was born October 2008 and the team won the Lombardi Trophy a few months later.
“We’re hoping this is our second good luck charm,” Main said. “He came with his own Terrible Towel.”
Her fiancé, Ray Ayres, didn’t have a doubt which team his new son would be rooting for come next Sunday.
“You don’t have to make them fans,” Ayres said. “They’re born Steelers fans here.”
Watch Upper St. Clair Patch Editor Becky Emmers' video, above, of the babies dressed up in Black 'n Gold.