Eight Years, Eight Babies

The hospital was an hour away, But for one couple, having a child there became a cherished annual custom.



Even though they lived an hour away, JoAnne and Nicholas Diaz kept returning to Saint Peter’s University Hospital for new additions to their family. Here’s the brood today.

Think one hospital is pretty much the same as the next? You’d get an argument from JoAnne and Nicholas Diaz. They’ve proven their devotion to Saint Peter’s University Hospital.

When JoAnne’s first pregnancy began, the Diazes were Raritan residents and her obstetrician-gynecologist practiced at Saint Peter’s. But in her first trimester the family moved to Easton, Pa. After checking with her doctor to see if traveling that far to give birth would be safe (the answer was yes), JoAnne had her first baby at Saint Peter’s.

“It was the best possible experience,” she recalls.

Apparently it was. In the next seven years, she had seven more babies at Saint Peter’s.

What has led this family to have such faith in Saint Peter’s? Faith itself, for one thing. Devout Catholics, the Diazes appreciate the hospital’s religious affiliation. “The chaplain, Father David, is a family priest we know well,” says JoAnne. “To be able to receive the sacrament of confession and celebrate Holy Mass with him, and to have him give each baby his or her first blessing, is very special. And it’s a comfort to have him there in case there is any problem with me or a baby.”

JoAnne, now 38, also has two close friends who work at Saint Peter’s—Ann Scotti, director of Care Coordination, and Linda Khalil, a nurse—and her stints in the mother-baby unit there have been a chance to catch up.

Today the Diazes have six boys and two girls, including 3-year-old twins who were delivered by Cesarean section. Most of the children’s births were uneventful, but one of the twins did have to stay briefly in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, where, as JoAnne recalls, “I loved the staff and how good they were about supporting my desire to breastfeed.”

The busy mom has a sense of humor about the family’s experience. “Going to Saint Peter’s is like a vacation for us,” says JoAnne. “Each time, we know we’ll get a few nights away, have a chance to sleep, and have great people bring us food—and a baby! During my last delivery I was Facebooking my whole labor, saying we were at our annual resort.”

The family’s devotion to Saint Peter’s now includes JoAnne’s father, 72-yearold Mike Mahar, who lives in Cresco, Pa., with his wife, Bel-Mehr, 74. (The Mahar family has five children, 21 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.) He worked at Johnson & Johnson for 16 years before forming his own healthcare sales and marketing company. Now retired, he is president of the Marriah Foundation, a charitable organization started by his daughter Jeanne Murphy in 2014 to raise funds to assist the needy, especially children, in the mid-Atlantic region.

“When we decided to name this our ‘Year of the Child,’ I thought, well, my daughter had eight kids in eight years at Saint Peter’s,” he says. He contacted the Saint Peter’s Foundation to offer his support. “It was the right karma,” he says. The Marriah Foundation has several fundraising events planned for 2015–16.

As for the Diazes, they say they would like to have more children at Saint Peter’s. But right now they are considering a possible move to Warren County, N.J., as Nicholas, now 34, takes a new job as superintendent of the Frelinghuysen Township School District. Their new house has to be within an hour’s drive of Saint Peter’s University Hospital, JoAnne says.

“People still say I’m crazy to go that far,” she says. “But it’s totally worth it.”

Celebrate the “Year of the Child”

To help support the “Year of the Child” campaign by the Marriah Foundation, of which JoAnne Diaz’s father is president, go to marriahfoundation.org. You can also follow the adventures of JoAnne Diaz and her brood at her blog, camaraderiemom.com.

To find out more about services available for you or your family at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, please call 732.745.8600 or visit saintpetershcs.com.

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December 2019

Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

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Join us for partially guided meditations every Monday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
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Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

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Local artist Laura Bowman will be performing at the new David Burke Orange Lawn on December 10th from 6-9 pm in South Orange, New Jersey.    Chef David Burke has introduced a new, casual,...

Cost: $10 annual dining club enrollment fee

Where:
David Burke Orange Lawn
305 N Ridgewood Rd
South Orange, NJ  07079
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Telephone: 973-552-2280
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The River and the Wall follows five friends on an immersive adventure through the unknown wilds of the Texas borderlands as they travel 1200 miles from El Paso to the Gulf of Mexico on horses,...

Cost: $12.50

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Hopewell, NJ  08525
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Sponsor: Hopewell Theater
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Contact Name: Emily Hollinger
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Since 2011, exciting excavations in the ancient village of Huqoq in Israel’s Galilee have been directed by famed archaeologist Jodi Magness, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. On...

Cost: Free and open to the public; free parking with online vehicle registration

Where:
Douglass Student Center
100 George Street
New Brunswick, NJ  08901
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Sponsor: The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers
Telephone: 848-932-2033
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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations on Wednesday evenings. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in community. Beginners...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

More information

Show More...
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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

More information

Join us for partially guided meditations every Thursday afternoon from 1:10-1:45pm. Learn to mediate or expand your current practice. Come experience the benefits of meditation and practice in...

Cost: Free

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

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Calling all storytellers! Pecha Kucha Nights are informal and fun gatherings where creative people get together and share their ideas, works, thoughts, holiday snaps -- just about anything, really...

Cost: $10.00

Where:
Hopewell Theater
5 South Greenwood Avenue
Hopewell, NJ  08525
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Sponsor: Hopewell Theater
Telephone: 609-466-1964
Contact Name: Emily Hollinger
Website »

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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

More information

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Research is showing that self-compassion is correlated with greater happiness and wellbeing, decreased anxiety and depression, as well as healthier lifestyle habits. Participants learn how to treat...

Cost: Special, one time introductory pricing of $450

Where:
Ramapo College of New Jersey
505 Ramapo Valley Road
Mahwah, NJ  07430
View map »


Sponsor: Krame Center for Mindful Living
Telephone: 201-684-6855
Website »

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