Hendricks County prosecutor’s offices sees joy as employees’ families grow in 2020
By Stephanie Dolan
Hendricks County prosecutor Loren Delp has worked in the same office for 15 years.
Naturally with his role in the community, he’s been privy to some interesting occurrences, but he has never seen anything like this before.
“Early last year, I was told by deputy prosecutor (Bradford) Casselman that he and his wife were expecting a child,” Delp said. “I was congratulating him, and it was right after him that another deputy prosecutor came in and told me she was pregnant.”
This pattern has continued to repeat itself in Delp’s office, resulting in seven pregnancies and eight babies over little more than a year.
“We’re a young office, and I think sometimes these things happen,” said Delp who lives in Brownsburg. “It is unusual because we have 17 deputy prosecutors, and seven of them, which includes two men, were expecting a child. One is still expecting a child early next year.”
Deputy prosecutor Kellie Pillar was part of what she calls a “pretty crazy” experience.
“I think a couple of people were already pregnant,” she said. “It seemed like a lot of our pregnancies were pretty close in time, and we were all in the same boat.”
Cassleman said his family’s announcement wasn’t a surprise because they were ready to have a second child.
“I think we might have been the first to announce a pregnancy by about six days, and then everyone else was sometime in in the next few months,” Casselman said.
While Casselman only took off two weeks after his baby girl Cora was born April 8, Pillar took off 12 weeks to bond with her twins, Michael and Carson when they were born in July.
“Those first two weeks were during shutdown, so it was really just a matter of whether I was opening my computer during those two weeks,” Casselman said. “Cora was born via c-section. My wife had more of a recovery period during that time. I did a lot more of the diaper changes early on.”
County officials and residents have been gracious during the time of employees on maternity leave and absent during the pandemic.
“Having seven deputy prosecutors off over the course of a year does create some scheduling challenges,” Delp said. “I think COVID(-19) and how we handled that helped in some circumstances, and I’m grateful to the county for how they’ve handled it. Everybody has been gracious and understanding. When you have that many people off. accommodations needed to be made.”
Pandemic restrictions meant that Pillar couldn’t have any visitors when her twins were born.
“It was just my husband and me in the room,” she said. “When we had my daughter we had a lot of visitors, but this time around, during my appointments, my husband was only allowed to go to the ultrasound, so he didn’t actually meet my doctor until the babies were delivered.”
It’s been a wild ride for the Pillars, but twins weren’t necessarily a surprise because she and her husband had done IVF.
“We knew twins were a possibility,” she said. “Getting to know them, especially with two of them, has been interesting, but you pretty quickly pick up on their little sounds and what comforts them. It’s pretty challenging with two because you can’t always attend to their needs as quickly as you would want to.”
But Pillar’s adrenaline just takes over because there’s so much love to go around.
“That’s how you get through those sleepless nights,” she said. “And eventually they smile at you, and that makes it all worth it. That’s the turning point, when you know they see you and smile at you. That’s the best.”
And now Michael and Carson, even though they’re only four months old, are already sleeping through the night.
“They’re great,” she said. “What everyone says is so true — that it goes so fast. Those newborn stages where you don’t get any sleep is just a moment in time. It will pass. Enjoy the sweet moments, the cuddles. Those things are the best.”
Every parent experiences difficult periods from loss of sleep to loss of freedom, Cassleman said.
“But it’s worth it, and the times that are hard go by really quickly,” he said.
Casselman had similar experiences to Pillar, including not being allowed to leave the hospital shortly after his wife Ceciley gave birth and not being allowed visitors during the two-day stay in the hospital.
“Our first child was a fairly easy baby, a good sleeper and a good eater,” he said. “Cora has been even better than that. We’ve been blessed. Her big sister Katie is her favorite person.”
Even with thoughts of a 2021 baby boom thanks to the pandemic, Delp said all but one of the seven pregnancies occurred prior to COVID-19.
“We sort of juggled around people’s work schedules and gave people time to spend with their little ones,” he said. “It was a challenge, but we met it, and I think we’re better for it.”
The little ones bring a fresh spirit into the office, said Delp who has four children of his own, ages 13, 11, 9 and 7.
“Given what we’ve gone through over the last six to eight months with COVID, it’s really nice to have these new bright spots coming into the lives of our people,” Delp said.
The entire experience is endearing.
“I don’t know if I can explain it,” Delp said. “I’ve asked the facility guys to come out and check the water. We’re all about families, and we’ve got a lot of little ones joining the prosecutorial team