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Twin boys are first babies of 2014 in Crow Wing County

Bethene Marolf holds her newborn twins Ronald Michael Marolf (left) and Patrick

Bethene Marolf always said she wanted to have twin boys and have her children with one shot.

“I just didn’t think God would take me that seriously,” she said.

Nearby, her sons nestled together in a clear bassinet, calmly oblivious to the attention they shared as the first babies of 2014 in Crow Wing County.

Appropriately for the state of their birth, the twins, fraternal brothers, arrived Jan. 3 via a C-section. Their mother never expected to deliver the first babies of the new year when her C-section was scheduled for Friday morning, three days into January.

For bragging rights, Ron beat his brother out of the womb by six minutes arriving at 8:30 a.m. with the smaller Patrick arriving at 8:36 a.m. The boys were delivered by Dr. Steve Senica at Essentia Health-St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Brainerd.

Ronald Michael and Patrick Robert were named for Marolf’s late father Ron, who passed away nearly a year ago to the day, and his best friend of 50 years, Patrick. The two friends are buried next to each near their deer stand on private hunting land they loved in Backus. With those two friends and now her two sons who will always have each other, Marolf said the name choices seemed appropriate.

“They’ve got two men watching over them up there,” Marolf said of her young sons. “They couldn’t ask for two better guardian angels.”

Preparing for the birth of her sons was a bit of a whirlwind experience. Marolf was six-and-a-half months along before she knew she was pregnant. She didn’t have morning sickness but began to feel the boys moving. A trip to the doctor confirmed it. And several weeks later, two heartbeats confirmed the twin boys.

“It was a little bit of a shocker, but we’re all good with it now. I’m 45 now and I’ll be 63 when they graduate — that part makes me a little nervous I can tell you that. You can stand up to boys and say ‘no you can’t have the keys and please don’t break mommy’s hip,’” Marolf said and laughed.

She’s looking forward to raising the boys and has the support of good friends and family.

Marolf grew up in Owatonna, but moved to Brainerd more than a year ago. Marolf was adopted so she doesn’t know if multiple births run in her family. But she said doctors told her after age 40, the chances of giving birth to multiple babies increases by 40 percent.

Three days old, Ron is now 5.4 pounds and Patrick weighs 4 pounds. The boys have been good and content. Patrick is so curious about the world, he’s had his eyes open early and often. Her younger son’s forehead wrinkles as he eyes the action around him, leading to an early nickname of Buttons — named after the character in the movie “Benjamin Button.” Even as Patrick grew slightly agitated, Ron settled in soundly sleeping.

“I’m in love,” Marolf said as she held her sons.

Marolf is used to being a caregiver. The sociology and psychology major went to St. Cloud State University and the University of Wisconsin in La Crosse. Marolf said her best friend in college gave birth to mirror twins. Now those twins are 21.

Marolf works with home hospice providing comfort care for people whose lives are ending. She said everybody wants somebody with them as they are passing away.

Growing up, Marolf said she went trap shooting and hunting and had a pocket knife collection along with the daughter of her father’s friend Patrick.

“We were our dads’ little boys,” she said.

Those are experiences she wants for her sons.

“They’ll go hunting and they’ll go fishing and maybe have their own Harleys by the time they are 20,” she said, herself a Harley-Davidson fan and former motorcycle owner.

“I wasn’t ready but now I am,” Marolf said of the unexpected but welcome gift of twins at this stage in her life. She said the only thing she worries about — and is able to joke about — now is having the necessary energy when the boys are teenagers.

“Really, you are going to prom — I hope I can stay awake ‘til you get back.”

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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