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Tailgating relatives welcome new family member

May 2, 2020 Digital Media Exclusive

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At top, newly minted Aunt Annie Hegedus, center, celebrates with family members after seeing a sign in the window, at right, at Butler Memorial Hospital that her sister gave birth to a boy. The families were not permitted inside the hospital because of the coronavirus pandemic, but they improvised, tailgating atop the parking garage to await the news.

BUTLER TWP — They stared at a window, waiting for a sign.

Any sign.

As the anticipation built, Annie Hegedus covered her mouth and muttered excitedly to herself. Emily Hegedus jumped up and down nervously.

The sisters and newly minted aunts were about to find out if they were going to spoil a boy or a girl. Their elder sister, Megan McGarvey, had given birth just hours earlier and she and her husband, Evan, had decided to wait to find out the sex of the baby until it entered the world.

Molly Hegedus, the matriarch of the Hegedus clan, stood nervously next to her husband, Mike.

Brian and Diane McGarvey, the parents of the father, also stood by nervously.

The Chicora families were perched atop the parking garage at Butler Memorial Hospital on a blustery Friday, unable to be inside because of the coronavirus pandemic restrictions.

“There was no way I was going to miss this,” said Emily Hegedus, a sophomore at Clarion University.

So, the families decided to tailgate on the adjacent parking garage, facing a hallway window on the third floor where the reveal would come.

About three hours after the birth and about eight hours after labor was induced, they saw movement from the window.

“Oh my God!” Annie Hegedus exclaimed. “The suspense!”

Finally, a sign in the window.


Screeches and screams of joy. Tears and hugs.

“I cannot believe we have a boy!” Annie yelled excitedly.

She was sure it was going to be a girl. Megan's belly was round — which according to old wives' tales indicates a girl.

The families wave to the new born across from the parking garage.

Molly was also sure it would be a girl because Megan was experiencing heartburn.

They were both wrong.

“He's going to look so funny in that bikini I bought him,” Molly said.

When the name was announced — Emmett Michael McGarvey — the new grandfather Mike Hegedus broke down into tears.

Emmett arrived at 12:49 p.m. weighing 7 pounds, 15 ounces, 19 inches, and with hair the color of light sand.

“I can't wait to kiss those little chubby cheeks!” Aunt Annie proclaimed.

It had been a long two weeks for the McGarvey and Hegedus families. The decision was made then to induce, mainly because of COVID-19 concerns.

Megan McGarvey's obstetrician, Dr. Maureen Russell, delivered the baby on her day off and even helped them make the sign to announce the gender.

Evan McGarvey, 25, the new dad, was allowed in the hospital and in the delivery room, but the rest of the family wasn't permitted to enter the hospital.

They improvised.

Pittsburgh Steelers' season ticket holders, the Hegedus family members are tailgating veterans.

“We will always find a reason to party,” Molly Hegedus joked.

This one, though, was the best of all.

They had been camped on top of the parking garage since 9 a.m. They had specially designed shirts and placards that said, “We're going to be aunts” and “Our first grandbaby” and “Welcome Baby McGarvey” and, of course, “COVID-19 will not stop us.”

New grandmothers Diane McGarvey, left, and Molly Hegedus celebrate the birth of Emmett Michael McGarvey while perched atop the parking garage adjacent to Butler Memorial Hospital. The family was not permitted inside the hospital because of the coronavirus pandemic and instead tailgated while waiting for word to come via a sign in the third-floor window. Eric Jankiewicz/butler eagle

The group became celebrities at the hospital Friday.

Nurses — and even some patients — stared out their windows and waved.

“I think we are entertaining everyone,” Molly Hegedus said, chuckling.

The families were extra vigilant during the coronavirus pandemic.

They rarely left the house.

Mike and Molly even went so far as to drive to Slippery Rock to shop for groceries because they offered curbside delivery.

Annie and Emily also stuck to a strict quarantine.

Emily turned 21 on March 26 and had a quarantine bar-hop party in the family's backyard. Mike checked her ID at the door of “Club Corona.”

Annie, 23, sheltered in place as well.

It was all with a purpose.

They wanted to hold the newest addition to the family as soon as possible.

“I'll wear a mask,” Molly said. “I'll wear a rubber suit. I'll do anything I can to hold this baby.”

She won't have to wait long.

Emmett Michael McGarvey has arrived. The family made the best of the COVID-19 outbreak to usher in his arrival.

“It will be something that is special forever, maybe even more special than if everything was normal,” said Diane McGarvey. “We made the best out of a bad situation.”

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Mike Kilroy

Mike Kilroy

I joined the Butler Eagle in January of 2000 after spending five years at the Steubenville Herald-Star and Weirton Daily Times, where I did everything from editing the sports section to knocking snow and ice off the Associated Press satellite dish. I graduated from Kent State University in 1994 with a degree in magazine journalism and a minor in skipping class. My honors include a 2007 Associated Press award for feature writing, a 2005 and 2007 Keystone award for column writing and a 2003 Golden Quill award for feature writing. I have a high game of 255 at Wii Bowling.