Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Chrissy's Journey

After several years of marriage, Chrissy O’Connell and her husband Patrick decided it was time to start a family.

“We were trying and it just wasn’t happening,” she said. “I went to see Dr. Reed to get tested; the results revealed I had poor egg quality and low egg quantity.”

That begs the question of how O’Connell came to meet the provider who would be with her on her fertility journey.

“As a marketing guy, you're gonna love this: I picked Dr. Reed because of her video on the Women's Care website,” O’Connell said. “And we clicked immediately. When we talked about fertility, she understood my struggles because she had had her own.”

Long story short, after three rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), the O’Connells were still not pregnant.

“We decided on one last round of IUI,” O’Connell said. “It gets expensive. It's not covered by insurance, it's never guaranteed, your body's going through a lot because you're on different drugs, you’re getting injections into your belly, tons of ultrasounds, the egg checks and the bloodwork. It's just a lot to physically go through.”

But the fourth time was the charm.

“We got the news about our miracle baby,” she said.

Later, they’d receive other news.

At her 20-week ultrasound, O’Connell found out she had placenta previa and vasa previa. The first condition is when the placenta partially or fully covers the cervix; the second is when some of the blood vessels that connect the umbilical cord to the placenta lie over or near the entrance to the birth canal.

“Basically, my placenta and the baby’s umbilical cord were routed right over my cervix,” O’Connell said. “Those sure can’t come out first.”

The presence of placenta previa required that her team keep a watchful eye on the position of the placenta (a low-lying placenta can cause severe bleeding in the mother before, during or after delivery) and cervical length (a short cervical length is associated with increased risk of hemorrhage and preterm birth), as well as to closely monitor blood flow through the umbilical cord.

Vasa previa, a rare and serious pregnancy complication, can lead to severe, potentially life-threatening blood loss to the fetus. Once diagnosed, a c-section is scheduled, typically at weeks 34-37. Careful monitoring continues throughout the pregnancy to maximize the amount of time pregnant while taking care to deliver the baby before the onset of labor.

“They told me I was going to be in the hospital at a certain point in my pregnancy, that I was probably having a NICU baby at 34 weeks,” O’Connell said.

For O’Connell, this meant being admitted to the hospital at 28 weeks.

“In the six weeks of my hospital stay I think I met every one of Dr. Reed’s partners at Women’s Care,” said O’Connell. “I was there long enough that everyone had the chance to round on me.”

Dr. Reed would deliver baby Maggie via c-section at 34 weeks. And there was a NICU stay.

“We had our miracle baby, then we lost two babies that we conceived naturally,” said O’Connell. “Then we had our second baby, Bailey, two and a half years later. I had a repeat c-section so I knew what I was headed into, but I did not know what it was like to be pregnant after 34 weeks. So every day was like ‘I’ve never been this pregnant before!’ But after Bailey we did have two more miscarriages.”

O’Connell ends with a memory from her first pregnancy.

“There was one day that Dr. Reed came in and sat on my bed,” said O’Connell. “She held my hand and told me how I was handling the situation with such grace. She was my biggest cheerleader. She helped create baby Maggie, supported us through miscarriages. She’s one of my absolute favorite people.”

Maggie is now in first grade (“she’s energetic and compassionate”); Bailey, who loves being a little sister, is in 4K (“she’s playful and silly”). The two are different in many respects but share the most wonderful commonality.

“They are our miracles,” said O’Connell.


Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Nicole’s Journey

“Surprises aren’t my thing,” Nicole West said.

Reflecting on her first pregnancy, well, that’s just what she got.

“I wasn’t ready for the pain I felt,” West said. “I was young, unprepared, and didn’t know what to expect from the experience. I didn’t know I had options.”

But she knew she didn’t want to experience that kind of pain again.

“With my second pregnancy, I wanted to be prepared,” West said.

In order to do that, it meant advocating for herself with her new OB/GYN, Maria Vandenberg of Women’s Care of Wisconsin. It meant being brutally honest and upfront, right from the get go.

“I’m an anxious person. I mean, I’m literally afraid of everything,” West said. “At my first appointment with Dr. Vandenberg the first thing that came out of my mouth was ‘I don’t want to die. Just don’t let me die.’ That’s how scared I was. I mean, really, most doctors would have thought I was nuts.”

With fears so deep, West told Vandenberg that she wanted to be put under and wake up with a baby (“pretty unrealistic, but now you know my mindset”), then waited for her provider to show her the door.

Then, a surprise—and a good one at that.

“Dr. Vandenberg not only assured me I wasn’t going to die, but that I would also enjoy my birthing experience,” said West.

Fear became a catalyst for West’s self-advocacy, and she let Vandenberg know just what her worries were. Vandenberg made sure each was addressed, and the two planned it out, step by step.

“I wanted a plan, and that’s just what I got,” West said. “Best of all, I had the confidence that things would work out.”

And for the most part they did. Except the part about the very large baby.

“At one of my appointments I found out if I went full term that I could expect a 13-pound baby,” said West. “Telling a person with high anxiety something like that can bring back intense fears.”

No worries, though. There was a tweak to the plan, and West was induced at 36 weeks. Her son, Mack, came in at a little over nine pounds.

“Dr. Vandenberg assured me that everything was going to be okay,” said West. “I got an epidural at two centimeters, and everything went as planned—no pain whatsoever.”

With Mack now 7 and brother Dylan 15, mom looks back on that initial appointment with Vandenberg (she’s still a patient) as a seminal moment.

“She’s just amazing. And I swear, it’s her eyes. She looks at you and just automatically makes you comfortable. It was as if she held on to my fear, and from that moment on I knew everything was going to be okay. Even so, I cry every time I see her; she’s been such a blessing in my life.”



Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Chelsy's Journey

“I’d have to say the stars aligned that day,” said Chelsy Jannusch.

Jannusch reached out to discuss the relationship she’s developed with Dr. Sara Swift of Women’s Care of Wisconsin, but she wanted to make clear her motivation for doing so.

“I know there are a lot of women who struggle to conceive or have children,” she said. “Knowing there are doctors out there who are not only willing to help but happy to help, well, that just means the world. It’s a very vulnerable, sensitive time in your life to try to be pregnant and have a baby, and she was there for me and gave me such peace of mind.”

Jannusch’s first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage; she got pregnant again soon after. When bleeding occurred, the care she sought would not be based on the provider. It would be a matter of proximity.

And chance.

“I loved my original provider,” Jannusch said. “But once I started bleeding I ended up going to the nearest location and the provider who was on call. 

And so she was paired with Dr. Swift.

“She was absolutely wonderful,” Jannusch said. “Unfortunately, I miscarried again. But Dr. Swift noticed on an ultrasound that she thought I might have a septum in my uterus.”

A septate uterus is a congenital anomaly where a thin membrane (called a septum) runs down the middle of the uterus, splitting it into two parts. Women with a septate uterus have an increased risk of pregnancy loss. The septum is difficult to detect visually, so often an imaging test is needed to confirm its presence.

Swift ordered a CT scan (and successfully advocated for Jannusch when the insurance company balked at covering it). The test would show a full septum running from the top of the uterus almost to the cervix. Swift successfully performed the reconstructive surgery. Several months later, Jannusch was pregnant again. 

“Everything worked out this time,” said Jannusch. “Sure, there were complications. I developed gestational diabetes, and carpal tunnel—which I didn’t even know you could get when you’re pregnant—and severe nausea, and at 37 weeks my water broke and I had pretty intense preeclampsia.”

A robust list that left off one little nugget: she was in labor for 50 hours.

“I remember Dr. Swift came to me and said, ‘Let's talk about your birth plan.’ I didn't have a plan. I'd never done this before. I just wanted to have a healthy baby. I told her if it came down to needing a C-section that I was totally okay with that. She tried everything she could for us to have a natural birth. I only dilated five centimeters, and that was the max that we got to.”

Her son, Stiven, was born via C-section at 11:59 P.M. Named after his late grandfather, Stiven shared something else with his namesake.

“He was born on his grandfather’s birthday,” Jannusch said. “With twenty seconds to spare!”

Jannusch is an exuberant and joyful person; her storytelling exhibits these traits. Her positivity is authentic, reflective of an inner strength. She’s tenacious, no doubt. Honesty is part of her makeup as well.

“After two miscarriages, I was terrified my entire pregnancy,” said Jannusch. “Sara (as testimony to their friendship, Jannusch reverts to calling Swift by her first name) was having me come in every few days during the first trimester, and just about every week after that.”

Jannusch thought it had something to do with her age, having turned 36 just before the birth of her son.

It didn’t.

Swift knew how nervous Jannusch was, so the extra visits were all about reassurance.

“I’ve never met a doctor like her. She just makes you feel so heard,” said Jannusch. “She looks you in the eyes and listens to you. And you can tell she genuinely cares.”

To punctuate that sentiment, Jannusch calls forth a memory.

“The day my son was born, Sara stayed at the at the hospital the whole time and continued to check on me,” Jannusch said. “The day after I had him she came in the room and sat down beside me and told me she felt like she failed me because I wasn’t able to have a natural birth.”

Jannusch held Swift’s hand and spoke from the heart.

“Without you, I wouldn't even have this baby. You did everything you could and I'm not upset. He's here and he's healthy.”

It was at this point in the interview that Jannusch made clear there were others she needed to thank.

“I’ve never been in the hospital other than having my baby, but the nurses, honestly, were just earth angels,” said Jannusch. "And I had a lot of them—I went in at midnight on a Sunday and went home the following Saturday.”

And there was someone else.

“My poor husband,” she quipped. “I’m an emotional person. I cried last night when he didn’t make a side with dinner. I was crying when I left this morning, I’m crying right now. He just gave me a hug, told me not to worry and stay positive.”

Being pregnant, she said, will do that to her.

As our time together drew to a close, Jannusch reflected.

“In the spectrum of things, I’m just one patient of many. But I love that woman. I waited in life to get married and have kids, and then you have complications and you think you’re never going to have a baby. I remember after my second miscarriage she sat down with me, looked me right in the eyes and said, ‘What do you want to do? And where do you want to go from here?’ I told her everything I wanted, and now I’ve got this beautiful little two-year-old.”

Author’s Note: Chelsy agreed to be interviewed at Women’s Care of Wisconsin’s Neenah location, the very place she first met Dr. Swift. Upon arrival she apologized profusely for being late (she wasn’t) and then said she needed to have a quick blood draw. We found out later the test confirmed Chelsy was pregnant, although her levels were concerning. She miscarried days later. Her response to us, in part:

“I assure you I really am doing OK. These things happen more than you know and I’m sure it was for good reason. You know, when I had my first loss I felt so alone. So isolated. And I’m really thankful that now I can speak from a place of experience to help others who are going through it for the first time.”

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Alyssa's Journey

With four children now—all girls—Alyssa Pederson and her husband are contemplating a move into a new house soon. Pederson has a general vision of what that will look like, with one rock solid stipulation.

“We’re gonna need two bathrooms,” she said.

With the biggest sister (Nora, 6) holding the baby (Lydia), and the next biggest one waiting to pitch in (Kinsley*, 5, who likes to throw the diapers away), Pederson was able to find a moment to talk about her relationship with midwife Kay Weina of Women’s Care of Wisconsin.

“Well, not sure that you know this [full disclosure: I didn’t**], but I actually worked with Kay before I was her patient,” said Pederson. “Kay’s medical assistant went back to school for her nursing degree, so I became her MA.”

Pederson did her medical assistant internship at Women’s Care of Wisconsin when she was pregnant with Kinsley and was hired two months before her delivery. She returned to her duties following, then went on maternity leave with her third child (Hazel, now 2), came back for a short stint, and then left Women’s Care to be a full-time mom two years ago.

Weina would deliver both Hazel and Lydia (16 weeks). The midwife experience, in general terms and with Kay specifically, has made Pederson an advocate.

“What I like the most about having a midwife is that I just feel like they have more time to be with you,” said Pederson. “While I was in labor with both of the younger girls, Kay would pop in and out whenever she could or she'd come up there and spend her entire lunch break with me. After the clinic day was done, she was up there until I had Hazel. When I was walking the halls while I was laboring with Lydia, Kay was up there walking with me.”

She gives Weina and her delivery nurse kudos for their support and encouragement which allowed her to deliver Lydia without an epidural.

“I was really glad I was able to do that,” said Pederson. “I almost caved.”

Partnering with Weina as both a colleague and a patient, Pederson appreciates Weina’s approach to care.

“Kay takes time to listen to your concerns, your wishes, your questions,” Pederson said. “You don't feel rushed with her. She’ll take as long as she needs with you, even if that means the rest of her day is now running late.”

Pederson, like many other patients before her, touched on Weina’s almost mythic aura of serenity.

“For labor and delivery, when she walks in the room there’s just a feeling of calmness,” said Pederson. “With Lydia, the nurse texted Kay when I was eight centimeters, but I needed her back because the baby decided right then it was time. I was freaking out a bit until I heard Kay’s voice. Then it was like, ‘Okay, I can do this.’”

From the very first appointments to confirming the baby’s heartbeat up until the time of delivery, Pederson’s expectations with Weina have always been exceeded. She ends with a final anecdote about Kay.

“Kay loves to go camping,” said Pederson. “But if she has a patient that goes into labor while she’s camping, she’ll go to the hospital and deliver the baby, and then she’ll go back. I must say, Kay is the sweetest human on earth.”


*Kinsley: How parents arrive at names sometimes works without a hitch. But sometimes you need a process:

 With Kinsley, we really struggled. We both had two names each that we liked, but we couldn’t decide from those four. One day, I got up to get ready for work and my husband came in with a hat.

“Pick one,” he said.

“What am I picking?”

“Her name.”


I picked Kinsley, and here we are!

**I didn't: In addition to not knowing Alyssa was a former employee at Women’s Care of Wisconsin, I also happened to contact her on May 3, hoping she would talk to me about Kay. The timing could be considered serendipitous. Or insensitive. I choose the former.

Her response: “I will definitely reach out to you once I get a look at my calendar at home. We are currently at the in the hospital as Kay actually just delivered our baby yesterday!”


Monday, July 24, 2023

Angie's Journey

In a recent survey, respondents voted hosting a dinner party with family as the number one stress inducer during the holiday season. Yeah, right. Angie Christopherson’s tale includes a positive Covid test on Christmas Day and a rescheduling of her inducement date, moved from December 26 to January 3. Oh, and because Santa’s gift to her regular OB/GYN was appendicitis, Christopherson would be meeting a brand new provider for the delivery of her second child.

Good thing Christopherson is the kind of person who can go with the flow.

“Long story short, I was given Dr. Brubaker,” said Christopherson, “and she was the greatest gift to me.”

But let's try the short story long and let Christopherson tell the tale of her experience as only she can:

My original provider ended up getting appendicitis, so then she was out. So I was just gonna have a random provider do the birth. And I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever.’ It’ll make things interesting because it’s someone I never met before. Honestly, I was okay with it.

I was supposed to get induced on December 26, but on Christmas morning I woke up and felt awful. Probably the sickest I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’m usually the kind that can push through things, but this time I couldn’t even get off the couch. Felt like I was going to pass out all day. So I called the nurse and asked if we should still get induced, because I honestly didn’t think I was capable of pushing a baby out.

The nurse told me I should take a Covid test just to make sure and rule that out, then we’d go from there. I had an at home test and, yep, I had Covid. And then it all made sense. We canceled the inducement and had to wait for a new date because of the quarantine protocol.

And then my husband got Covid.

And then I was notified that my doctor got appendicitis.

And I was chasing a toddler around too.

We ended up scheduling the inducement on January 3. I was like 40 weeks and five days, so yeah, I was ready. We went in, got the Pitocin, and everything was moving along well. At eight centimeters they sat me up to see if they could get me to ten, but I felt like I was going to pass out. I didn’t, which was good. But when I got to ten centimeters, all of a sudden a bunch of nurses came running in. I’m thinking, ‘Okay, why are all these nurses here?’ 

Things had started to go a tad bit sideways: they couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat. 

Enter Dr. Brubaker, who was downstairs with another patient. I don’t know if they press a button or something when they can’t hear the baby’s heartbeat, but Brubaker must have launched herself up the stairs, because she was a little bit out of breath when she got there. I asked her if everything was alright. ‘I just sprinted up here!’ she said. 

They ended up finding my baby’s heartbeat, but it just kept dropping, mostly because he was kind of in the birthing canal. So it was kind of a scary thing. But Brubaker was so calm, went through the options if the heartbeat continued to drop.

Maybe this was where I was a little too go with the flow, because out came, ‘I don’t really know, so why don’t you pick!’ 

That didn’t fly with Brubaker, so I think I went with, ‘Okay, whatever’s safest.’ But I knew I was to keep pushing, and pushing, and pushing. For like an hour and a half. (And I thought the second delivery was supposed to be easier!) Anyway, the pushing continued and I’m not entirely sure what happened, but basically the baby’s shoulder got stuck. They did some maneuvering and voila!

Charlie was born! 10 pounds, 13 ounces!

He was a large guy. One nurse asked me if other nurses could come in and see him. At this point I was so relieved that I just said, ‘Sure! Bring ‘em in!’

And the nurses were like, ‘Holy cow! This is the biggest baby we’ve ever seen!’

So yeah, it was kind of a hoot, I mean once the scary stuff had passed and we could push out this almost 11-pound baby.

Sometimes when you hear stories about women giving birth, or just being in the hospital in general, you hear about how they just felt like another patient or another number. But I truly felt valued, and I felt Dr. Brubaker truly cared about my baby’s health. She was able to deliver him with ease while keeping me educated about possible outcomes during the entire labor.

She was so professional, so calm, and we absolutely loved her.




Monday, July 17, 2023

Sarah's Journey

Serendipity can be a powerful thing. 

When Sarah Hanaway’s insurance changed and she needed a new OB/GYN, she decided to call Women’s Care of Wisconsin in the hope that they had a provider who was accepting new patients.

Sarah Hanaway, meet Dr. Adriana Schaufelberger.

Hanaway was being introduced to her new provider just as she and her husband were trying to get pregnant for the first time; they were instructed to try for three months.

Which is exactly what they did, but they weren’t getting pregnant.

“At my first visit with Dr. Schaufelberger, I told her I didn't know how moms that try for years handle it, because we were already feeling kind of disappointed,” said Hanaway. “And so that day when I got there, she had everything ready for what kind of fertility things we could do, she had already checked into my insurance and everything. She was prepared for me and knew me as a patient before I even knew her.”

Hanaway acknowledged her fears that a long and difficult road to getting pregnant was just beginning for them, and then made another admission: because she had been let down a couple of times, she hadn’t taken a pregnancy test for a while. She took one then and there and was given the news.

“You are the least pregnant a person can be,” said Schaufelberger.

Hanaway was excited and scared, but she said Schaufelberger countered that by being informative and reassuring. Throughout the first pregnancy Hanaway, like most new moms, had a plethora of questions.

“I could get ahold of her at any time, and asking her questions was so easy,” said Hanaway. “And that first pregnancy went great, and we delivered Rory.”

The second pregnancy was more challenging, as the baby wasn’t moving at 37 weeks. It’s uncertain whether it was related to her preeclampsia or had some connection to her bout with COVID, but Hanaway developed blood clots that fortunately did not get to the baby. Schaufelberger induced labor and delivered baby Rosella early.

“That might have been the world’s fastest delivery ever,” said Hanaway. “Schaufelberger told me she was going to go home and eat dinner, come back, and I was going to have a baby. She didn’t get the chance to eat. Labor was 30 minutes, tops.”

Complications followed after Ella’s birth, as Hanaway dealt with postpartum preeclampsia, which presents briefly at the end of pregnancy and can cause early delivery. The condition lingered, and instead of being able to focus on recovering after childbirth and caring for her newborn, Hanaway spent a considerable time just being very sick. This resulted in the most difficult circumstance of the pregnancy.

“I had to leave Ella at home and go back to the hospital,” Hanaway said. “That caused a lot of hard emotions that Schaufelberger acknowledged and kept in mind when we were pregnant with number three.”

And with their third, the complications continued.

“Anything that can happen when you’re 37 years old and pregnant was happening to me,” Hanaway said.

Preeclampsia affected Hanaway’s pregnancy again, and to complicate matters further she developed cholestasis, a condition that lowers liver function that can cause complications for mother and baby. At her twenty-week appointment, Schaufelberger told her to come in for testing every two to three weeks. 

One day Hanaway called and said she didn’t feel the baby moving. Tests became weekly.

“She saw this was making me anxious,” said Hanaway. “She cares a lot about the patient and the baby, and she just let me know she was going to do everything in her power to make sure we were being taken care of.”

The delivery of her third child, Rynn, was not a speedy affair like the second. Hanaway assumed it was just a really large baby, but it turned out the baby was flipped and “turning all over the place.” Despite the acute sickness she felt during delivery, Hanaway recognized something that was a constant with Schaufelberger.

“She keeps the delivery room lively and treats the entire family, not just the mom. She makes sure she knows everybody,” said Hanaway.

Certainly that includes Hanaway’s husband, an inquisitive person who spent most of Rory’s delivery barraging Schaufelberger—in the midst of all the action—with a seemingly unending set of questions. For Ella’s delivery, Schaufelberger pointed at mom’s head and said to dad, “You stay up there. I’ve got the area down here covered.”

Now with three children four and under as well as a new puppy (“potty trained but not yet behavior trained”), the Hanaway house is an active and joyful place. Asked to pause for a moment and reflect on Dr. Schaufelberger, mom and dad were in alignment.

“We both agreed that we had such an amazing experience with her and she made us feel comfortable every step of the way in all three pregnancies. What sets her apart from other doctors is that she doesn't just get to know you as a patient; she knows you as a person and she knows and cares about you and your entire growing family.”

After three pregnancies with their fair share of complications (by the way, Hanaway had gestational diabetes with each), she ends by highlighting a Schaufelberger quote that resonates with her, deeply.

“Dr. Schaufelberger always says ‘I trust a mother’s instinct.’ That’s so reassuring to hear, to know that she trusts you to know when your body isn’t feeling right.”

So a chance appointment with “any available provider” becomes a bond of strength, a relationship based on confidence and trust.

Serendipity indeed.









Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Sam's Journey

When you call a mom with an 11-month-old for an interview, leading with the question “Are you good to go?” is a given, even if you know what the answer will be.

“Got a baby right here but I’m ready,” was Sam Hawkinson’s reply.

Of course she’s ready. She’s a mom.

Hawkinson is the proud mother of 11-month-old Louie.

She’s proud of her five-year-old son Finn, too.

And Archie, age seven.

Jack too, who’s nine.

“My husband is one of three boys, and his dad is one of five boys, and his dad’s dad was one of eight boys,” said Hawkinson. “I prepared myself for boys.”

Following the delivery of boy #1 (aka Jack) by her regular OB/GYN, Hawkinson needed to find another provider—not due to anything negative, simply retirement. While Hawkinson was satisfied with the new obstetrician she started with during her second pregnancy, due to unforeseen circumstances she was unavailable to meet with Hawkinson at several appointments.

Enter midwife Kay Weina, who stepped in and introduced herself at Hawkinson’s 20-week appointment.

“Kay walked in the room that day and I don’t know what it was. Her overall presence, an aura of calm,” said Hawkinson. “Whatever it was, it just made me feel like she was who I needed to have deliver the baby.”

Admittedly, Hawkinson had been curious about midwifery and had pondered how that approach might impact the journey. Their initial conversation proved to be a tipping point.

“Meeting Kay and understanding the midwife’s point of view, which is to be there with you and for you, was an immediate aha moment for me,’” she said. “Kay’s calm and loving presence, and the fact that she began by taking time to get to know me, was a huge difference-maker.” 

Following that appointment at 20-weeks, Hawkinson made the provider switch.

“It wasn’t that my provider wasn’t a good fit,” she said. “It was that Kay was the perfect fit.”

Fast forward to the birth of Archie (boy #2), where Hawkinson went into labor but her contractions ended up stalling. Kay was with her through the entire night in what culminated the next day in a somewhat non-traditional birth.

“Well, I started to birth right there in the shower,” Hawkinson said. “This baby was coming out, and there we all were—Kay, my doula, the birth team, my mom and my husband—all in this small bathroom. Pretty wild.”

With baby boy #3 (Finn), Hawkinson went into labor, got to the hospital, and the labor stalled once again. Kay (“calm and collected as always”) broke her water, and Finn was delivered.

She noted that there was another similarity with those births.

“I was standing up both times when I delivered,” Hawkinson said. “Using gravity seems to work for me.”

And let us not forget boy #4, baby Louie who, at 11 months now, was in mom’s arms during the interview. Hawkinson described the birthing experience with Louie as the toughest yet—“He just really didn’t want to come out”—but he’s doing great and growing well.

Hawkinson ends with a comment about Kay that aptly punctuates the discussion.

“Kay just makes you feel really grounded, basically like you can do anything,” she said. “Like have a baby!”