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You can help families stay together during difficult times

Twins Collins and Delaney were born at 31-and-a-half weeks and spent 6 weeks in the NICU.

Stephanie Warren started having spontaneous contractions when she was 31-and-a-half weeks pregnant with twin girls. She and her husband rushed to Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Medical Center in hopes of stopping her labor. But their daughters were determined to make an early entrance into the world.

“The doctor and neonatal nurse practitioner broke the news that the girls were going to be born that day. Tears immediately filled my eyes because I was so scared for them,” recalled Stephanie. “Thirty-one weeks is too early, and with that comes the possibility of so many complications. But my doctor assured me that the girls were stable and just wanted out.”

Twins Collins and Delaney would end up staying in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for about six weeks. It was a frightening time, but the Warrens knew they were getting the best care possible.

“We were so grateful to have such an advanced NICU with its wonderful staff so close to home. Because the girls were so early there was mention that they may need to be transferred to a higher level NICU. Thankfully that was not the case.”

Having that level of care close to home made those difficult weeks more bearable.

“With the NICU being so close we were able to visit and be with our girls every day, which for me – and I’m sure many parents – was so important,” said Stephanie.

Expanding services in Sheboygan County

The Warren family was grateful their babies received NICU care close to home.

The Health Lives Here campaign is a $5 million effort that includes expanding pediatric specialties and enhancing the NICU at the new Aurora Medical Center in Sheboygan County, which opens in 2021.

“I cannot even imagine what it would have been like if our girls would have needed to be transferred because Aurora Sheboygan didn’t have the services for our girls,” said Stephanie. “Expanding the NICU so that all families know their babies will be staying local – while still receiving the best care – is so very important.”

The campaign will expand the region’s only NICU from six to 10 beds and create the area’s first NICU transport program. It will also enhance pediatric care, particularly in neurology, pulmonology, endocrinology and gastroenterology.

“The NICU life is hard. It’s by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through. But the one thing that made it easier was the Aurora Sheboygan NICU. The staff was amazing to us, and they all loved and cared for our girls as if they were their own,” she said. “I can only hope that the NICU continues to be supported so that every family after us can also have the best possible experience in a truly difficult time.”

How you can help

You can help families like the Warrens receive the best care possible close to home. To learn more, visit give.aurora.org/healthliveshere. You can also contact Sara Alger at sara.alger@aurora.org or 262-235-9506.