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‘Parents shouldn’t have to worry about being miles away from their child’

All of the Volkomener children spent time in the NICU when they were born.

Samantha Volkomener and her family are very familiar with what it’s like to have a baby stay in a neonatal intensive care unit. They’ve had 3.

“Our twins were born at 31 weeks. They stayed in the NICU at Aurora Sinai Medical Center because of their gestational age,” said Samantha. “It was hard because we had to drive an hour one way to see them.”

After 12 days, the twins were able to be transferred closer to home to Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center. They spent a total of seven weeks in the NICU.

“We had it pretty easy for the majority of the time we spent there. The doctors just had to make sure they grew and didn’t have any heart or breathing issues.”

The Volkomeners’ second NICU experience was when their daughter, Kate, was born.

“She was born at 35 weeks and just needed to grow a bit more before she could come home,” said Samantha.

Compassionate care close to home

It meant a lot to the Volkomener family to be able to have their children nearby.

“When you have a child in the NICU, it’s stressful. You want your baby at home with you and you can’t. Having our babies in Sheboygan was a huge comfort and really lowered our stress levels. We weren’t an hour away and fighting traffic.”

Other families weren’t so fortunate.

“We saw quite a few babies who had to be transferred out because there wasn’t enough space, and that just broke my heart,” said Samantha. “Parents shouldn’t have to worry about being miles away from their child at night.”

Nurses and physicians also provided great comfort during their time in the NICU.

“The nursing staff and doctors were just wonderful. I think NICU caregivers are angles put on earth.”

How you can help

You can help families like the Volkomeners receive the best care possible close to home by supporting the Health Lives Here campaign, which will expand the current NICU’s capacity from 6 to 10 beds. To learn more, visit give.aurora.org/healthliveshere. You can also contact Sara Alger at sara.alger@aurora.org or 262-235-9506.