It was a bit of a shock to Sandra and Matt Santos when they learned – 15 years into marriage and in their mid-40s – that Sandra was expecting a baby.

“Most of our friends were welcoming grandchildren,” Matt said. “We were blessed with the knowledge that we were going to be parents, but it was scary, too.”

The couple embraced their new role and registered for a Family Birth Class at Yavapai Regional Medical Center (YRMC). At their first class Matt – a photojournalist and host of the Prescott arts and entertainment podcast the Mile High Show – recognized former students from the high school where he had done some work.

“They looked as surprised to see me as I was to see them,” he said.

As the “experienced” members of the class, Matt and Sandra were star students. They soaked in tips on how to be comfortable during labor, practiced relaxation techniques to use during childbirth and learned what to expect when they arrived at the hospital for their baby’s delivery.

But Matt harbored a secret fear: He was terrified of being in the room during the delivery.

Click here to watch My Memories of Yavapai Regional Medical Center: Matt, Sandra and Anthony Santos on YouTube.

An Early Arrival

Little Anthony surprised his parents by arriving a month early, weighing in at 5 pounds, 5 ounces. Matt was by Sandra’s side during an unplanned cesarean section.

“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” the proud papa said. “I was able to be one of the first one or two people to hold little Anthony in my arms, and it was very exciting. Little did we know that this was just the beginning of an exciting journey, and it’s getting better every day.”

Less than a year after Anthony’s birth, the Family Birthing Center opened at YRMC East.

“Do you think they had to move (to YRMC’s East Campus) because of you?” Matt teased his son. Anthony didn’t think so.

“It’s kind of exciting to be part of the last group,” Matt said and Anthony agreed with his Dad.

Family Ties

The Santos family has many friends and neighbors who work at the hospital. They also are pleased with their personal history with YRMC.

“Seventy-five years in the community…I think that’s quite an accomplishment,” Matt said. “To have one institution representing the community and taking care of the community for so long is quite an accomplishment.”

And from the looks of it, Sandra and Matt are happy with their accomplishment, who is growing up in front of their eyes.