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From the Other Side of the Desk

My personal story with the Foundation

January 28, 2016 was the best and worst day of my life.  My daughter, Violet, was born that morning at 5:14.  The first thing every mom listens for is the cry, that first cry.  I didn’t hear it.  I asked if she was crying and I just didn’t hear her, the staff calmly told me, “Not yet.”  They moved her to the warmer on the other side of the room the second she was born and I didn’t get to see her or hold her.  My husband stood to the side watching the team work on both of us.   I heard a quick cry and then they took her to the nursery.


It was a pretty normal delivery, as deliveries go; however she aspirated in the process.  Hearing this, I asked if she would need to be sent to the NICU at UVM Medical Center.  I am pretty familiar with the process as I’ve called UVM Health Network – CVPH my home for the past five years, working as the social worker in the Center for Women and Children and now in my current role as the development assistant in The Foundation of CVPH.  I knew that often infants were sent to the NICU when they aspirated because I would get a call, in both of my roles at CVPH, to bring a “Families Helping Families” bag for the family to assist with the unexpected trip.  The end decision from the medical team was to send Violet to the NICU at UVM Medical Center.


I need to explain that my husband and I are planners, intense planners.  We were ready for Violet to come, our bags had been packed for eight weeks, yes I know we are a little crazy.  We, on the other hand, were not ready for a trip to VT and as the doctor told us, “a possible trip to Boston.”  We were stunned.  The next thing I knew my husband had gotten his things together and a bag was passed to him, the “Families Helping Families” bag that I had given to so many moms and dads time after time in the past five years.  My husband didn’t know much about it and I almost tried to give it back explaining that we had packed everything we needed, but in that moment I didn’t want to deny my husband the things he had not prepared for like showering (he had planned to go home to do that while I was in the hospital).


My husband was able to follow the ambulance and hold Violet’s hand in the NICU that day and he stayed with her until very late at night.  I was able to join them the next day.  Having only packed for a possible three day admission, we were running low on personal hygiene items and clothes.  It was the “Families Helping Families” bag that gave us the opportunity to hold our daughter for the first time the day after she was born and hold on to her without having to run errands and pick up extra soap or buy more clothes.  We ended up needing to stay in VT for seven days.  Because of that special bag, we were able to do our laundry at the hotel with the quarters, dry our tears with the tissues and take late night showers so we could spend every possible second that we could with her without having to go shopping.  After seven days in VT, we were able to go home together.


The Foundation has always had a special place in my heart and that was the reason that I had originally applied for my current position.  Now, The Foundation of CVPH could not be more important to me, it gave me time to hug my new family and hold on to them without needing to let go.

-Karen Kalman