Despite fertility issues, Kari and Tyler Sauerwein never gave up hope of having a baby.
“We took a pilgrimage to France where we had an awesome, spiritual experience at the healing waters discovered by Saint Bernadette of Lourdes,” says Kari. “We hoped and prayed that perhaps we could get pregnant.”
11 months later, Kari discovered during Lent that she was pregnant.
“We hoped it would be the year of St. Joseph soon. So, we chose to have Bernadette at Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph,” says Kari.
To prepare for their newborn, Kari began taking the free online Childbirth Education classes offered by Ascension Via Christi thanks to a grant from Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“I enrolled in every single class available,” says the former librarian who, despite having been a good student, says that she needed all the help she could get.
As it turned out, she needed that knowledge sooner than planned as she went into labor three weeks early.
“Even so, I felt so comfortable with my nurses throughout our 26-hour delivery,” says Kari, who made it through her first 12 hours without pain medicine in hopes of natural childbirth. “They were very hands-on and supportive during the entire delivery process.”
Their baby, named after Saint Bernadette, was born with fluid in her lungs and a bacterial infection. She was taken to Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit immediately after her birth and received care there for the next 16 days. Kari stayed nearby for the first two days in one of the postpartum suites where new moms go to recover after giving birth.
“It was nice to have a comfortable, open, spacious room because it didn’t feel like an asylum for those first few days,” says the 32-year-old.
Once back home, Kari and Tyler kept a close eye on Bernadette via a NicView camera, again made possible by Children’s Miracle Network.
“We got to watch her at dinner, before bed, in the morning, really any time she wasn’t with her nurses,” says Kari. “We got familiar with her nurses and eventually visiting her in person felt very comfortable too.”
Now a healthy 6-month-old, Bernadette continues to thrive.
Although breastfeeding difficulties initially caught her by surprise “given how easy it looks in movies and online,” she’s been successful because of the breastfeeding class and support she’s received from the Ascension Via Christi Breastfeeding Clinic and lactation team.
Says Kari: “If I could give advice to parents like us, it would be learn while you can, take childbirth education classes with licensed professionals, don’t Google everything, and sleep when your baby sleeps.”
To learn more about labor and delivery at Ascension Via Christi, go to viachristibaby.com.