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Elle and Kelly’s Story

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Two pounds, one ounce is the approximate weight of five cups of sugar. Those measurements meant something much sweeter to Kelly as she welcomed her first daughter, Elle at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay.

Kelly, of Gladstone, Mich., was transferred to HSHS St. Vincent Hospital while experiencing difficulties with her pregnancy. Despite all efforts to keep her safely growing in her mother’s womb, Elle arrived more than three months early.  

During this critical time, Kelly and Elle had access to the high level of care they needed in the Women and Infants Center at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital. While women’s care experts tended to Kelly’s needs, neonatologists from the newborn intensive care unit (NICU), located just steps away from the Women and Infants Center, were there to provide immediate care to Elle. 

The NICU, part of HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital, is Green Bay’s first and longest serving NICU. It is equipped to provide immediate, 24/7 care for infants born too early, with low birth weights, congenital birth defects or unanticipated difficulties. Physicians and medical staff there have a combined total of more than 840 years of experience in neonatal care to help tiny babies like Elle grow and develop until they are strong enough to go home. 

“They were so incredibly knowledgeable and reassuring,” recalls Kelly.

The expert medical care provided at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital NICU is complemented by a level of compassion well-known by the hundreds of babies and families who have received care there in its 50+ years of existence. 

Kelly’s story is also unique. Prior to Elle’s arrival, Kelly and her husband struggled for years with infertility. Two months after a surrogate became pregnant with what she thought would be their first child, Kelly learned she had naturally become pregnant with Elle. Just 11 days after she gave birth to a premature Elle at HSHS St. Vincent Hospital, her surrogate gave birth to another beautiful baby girl, Sunny, in Michigan. 

Blessed with two girls less than two weeks apart, Kelly also found herself in a challenging situation: Being present for Sunny, who was born healthy and full-term in Michigan, and for Elle, who remained in the HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital NICU in Green Bay. Kelly says she will be forever grateful for the compassion the NICU physicians, providers and nurses showed to her during this time, ensuring Elle never felt alone when Kelly could not be in two places at once. 

Today, being in two places at once is no longer a concern. After more than 100 days in the NICU, Elle is home. She is strong, healthy, and growing alongside her sister, Sunny, thanks to the expert care she received at HSHS St. Vincent Children’s Hospital NICU. 

“It’s a long road, but you’ll get there,” is Kelly’s message to parents and caregivers navigating a NICU journey. “Trust the doctors and the nurses, they know what they are doing.”