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Oh boy! Crow Wing County's first baby of 2015

A Crosby couple rang in the new year by welcoming their new baby boy. Drake Stephen Portz entered the world at 10:02 a.m. Thursday at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2015. At nearly 10 pounds a...

Janelle Whipple holds her son Drake Stephen Portz, who was born Thursday morning at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby. Drake is the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2015. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
Janelle Whipple holds her son Drake Stephen Portz, who was born Thursday morning at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby. Drake is the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2015. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls

A Crosby couple rang in the new year by welcoming their new baby boy.

Drake Stephen Portz entered the world at 10:02 a.m. Thursday at Cuyuna Regional Medical Center in Crosby, the first baby born in Crow Wing County in 2015.

At nearly 10 pounds and more than 21 inches long, baby Drake arrived a day earlier than expected; mother Janelle Whipple was scheduled for a cesarean section at 10:30 a.m. Friday. Instead, at around 7 a.m. New Year's Day, Whipple's water broke and contractions kicked in soon after, accelerating the trip to the hospital.

"He didn't want to wait that long," said father Steven Portz. "The roads were a little slippery, but we still made it."

Portz and Whipple also have a 9-year-old daughter, Madalyn, who isn't quite sure what to think of having a baby brother. The former only child said she's been informed by classmates of the perils of big sisterhood.

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"She was like, 'You won't like it,'" Madalyn said of a friend's warning.

With more than nine years between them and six months between their birthdays, she won't have to share birthday parties or many toys with baby Drake.

"I'm glad I have a toybox I can push in front of my door," she said. "If I don't want him in there, there I go."

The pregnancy was an unexpected - and somewhat difficult - one for Whipple. She and Portz had been trying for another baby for five years without success. When a pregnancy test confirmed Drake's impending arrival, the family reacted with surprise.

"We had kind of given up, so we were like, 'Uh oh,'" Whipple said.

Madalyn sought to establish boundaries on her role right away.

"I was just like, 'Oh jeez, I'm not changing diapers,'" she said.

At 38 and 32 respectively, Portz and Whipple have no plans to continue adding to their family.

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"Better late than never. Now we've got one of each," Portz said. "This one was a tough one. We're both getting up there."

Whipple said she experienced swelling and discomfort that led her to sleep in an armchair for many nights.

"I'm just glad we're all healthy," Portz said.

The couple met through Portz's friendship with Whipple's brothers and have been together for more than 14 years. They both work at Stern Companies in Baxter and have plans to marry.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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