St. Joseph is Hospital-of-Choice for Professional Athlete & Growing Family - Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare

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Published on April 17, 2017

St. Joseph is Hospital-of-Choice for Professional Athlete & Growing Family

Novak FamilySteve Novak was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 32nd pick in the NBA draft in late June 2006. He went on to parlay his Hall of Fame career at Marquette University into a professional basketball career that has spanned from 2006 until 2017, playing in Houston, LA, Dallas, San Antonio, New York, Toronto, Utah, Oklahoma City and, most recently, Milwaukee.

Steve grew up and starred at Brown Deer High School, and he and his wife, Christina, lived off-seasons in Whitefish Bay. When the couple was set to deliver their first baby, Mack, in the summer of 2010, they had their choice of any area hospital. They chose Wheaton Franciscan - St. Joseph Campus, part of Ascension.

Christina explained that it really wasn’t a difficult decision. In 2008, she wanted to get involved and give something back to her community. A friend told her about volunteers who rocked premature infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at St. Joseph. A number of the babies don’t have family to nurture them, and the volunteers make a tremendous difference.

“I would hold and rock a baby and you could watch their blood pressure go down as their stress went down,” Christina described. “It was an amazing feeling.”

Christina picked Wheaton Franciscan Medical Group’s Dr. Rebecca Lawrence as her obstetrician and, as fate would have it, Mack came into the world six weeks early. He ended up needing to spend some time in the same St. Joseph NICU where his mom volunteered. Mack thrived!

Steve was playing with the New York Knicks when their second child, Shea, was born. Christina delivered in Greenwich, Connecticut in a hospital that she described as being like the Four Seasons. She said the rooms were beautiful and the care was fine, but … it wasn’t St. Joseph.

“It seems like everyone wants to deliver at a spa these days, hospitals with glamorous birthing suites … but what if everything doesn’t go as planned?” explained Christina.

She never really thought she would need the NICU, but it gave her peace of mind and still does.

“It’s not about things being shiny and flashy,” Steve said. “It’s about the security and most importantly, it’s about the people. At St. Joe’s there are just so many wonderful people who provide great care with a personal touch. It was a little scary when Mack was in the NICU, but everyone reassured us and made us feel comfortable.”

There’s a third Novak on the way. Christina is pregnant and, as with the first two pregnancies, neither mom nor dad knows if it will be a boy or a girl. They said they like the surprise.

One thing they do know, however, is that their third child will be born at St. Joseph. That’s a comfort to their growing family and a source of pride for the St. Joseph family!

More Information

Learn more about our neonatal intensive care and volunteer opportunities.

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St. Joseph is Hospital-of-Choice for Professional Athlete & Growing Family