Due to have a baby in 2017, Kelly Hayes knew HSHS St. Vincent Hospital is where she wanted when it was time to welcome her second little bundle of joy into the world. She had delivered her now 4-year-old daughter, Millie, there in 2015 and was impressed with the care she had received. However, she didn’t realize how much more care she would need this time around.
About 20-weeks into her pregnancy with her second daughter, Kelly was diagnosed with placenta previa, that occurs when the baby’s placenta partially or completely covers the mother’s cervix. It can cause severe bleeding and pre-term labor. Over time, Kelly’s condition became serious enough that it required her to be admitted to the hospital, where doctors could monitor her and her unborn baby’s conditions around the clock.
“There were some very scary times for me and it was a difficult part of my life,” recalls Kelly. “But I quickly realized how many people there were around to support me and fight for me in my corner. I knew that no matter what was going to happen, everyone would do their best to keep me and my baby safe.”
Kelly stayed on bed rest at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in the Women and Infants Center for nearly six weeks before she gave birth to a healthy girl named, Greta, via C-section on May 31, 2017. Kelly says she will forever be grateful for the life-saving care she and Greta received from HSHS St. Vincent Hospital during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and the days following Greta’s birth; but, it was the way hospital colleagues made Kelly feel that holds a special place in her heart.
Kelly recalls feeling glum on one particular afternoon while looking out the hospital window to see bright, sunny skies and warm weather. Bed rest limited her ability to move about freely and she was wishing she could be outside; she even mentioned aloud to another patient on bedrest whom she’d befriended on the floor, how wonderful it would be to enjoy a bowl of ice cream outside. The next day, one of the nurses who had overheard the conversation, arranged for Food Services to create ice cream sundaes for both women and then brought them outside in wheelchairs to enjoy their treat in the sunshine.
“I can’t say enough about the nurses who were with me day in and day out,” said Kelly. “I truly credit my mental and physical health to them.”
Compassionate care was also provided by Environmental Services colleagues, who displayed kindness memorable enough for Kelly to remember their names. She recalls how when she moved rooms at one point, many of them sought her out to say, “Hello,” and ensure she had everything she needed and was comfortable. The night before her scheduled C-section, Amber Chibuk, Divisional Director, Women and Infants Services, HSHS-Eastern Wisconsin Division, ordered Kelly dinner from a nearby restaurant and cake to celebrate. Kelly even felt this kind of personalized care beyond the walls of the Women and Infants Center during her stay at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital.
“Each night, when my husband would bring our daughter, Millie, to visit me, we’d take a wheelchair ride to the cafeteria so Millie could pick out a snack and I could get out of my room for a bit,” recalls Kelly. “One of the cafeteria workers we saw each night developed a really special relationship with Millie. They had a cute routine where the worker would let Millie scan her own fruit snacks at the register when it came time to pay for them. Things like this really helped me – all of us – get through some long days.”
Kelly’s long days in the hospital are now over, as she and Greta were discharged four days after Greta’s birth on June 3. She says, “It was a bittersweet moment leaving the hospital, because it had become my home. I had nurses who came in to hug me goodbye and cried right along with me, which shows just how compassionate and caring they are.”
Today, Kelly enjoys being a stay-at-home mom to Greta, now 2, and big sister, Millie. She continues to stay in contact with some of the hospital colleagues she developed relationships with during her stay.
“Most people would think staying in a hospital for such a long period of time as daunting and depressing,” said Kelly. “While I did have some difficult moments, what sticks out most in my memory are all the positive things. I consider all the relationships and friendships I developed to be the brightest silver lining of them all. There are countless people to thank at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital and I struggle to put it into words. My hope is that the kindness that so many people gave to me during a difficult time in my life may return to them someday.”