Despite curve balls, new parents cherish their baby’s rookie year


“I love every second of being a dad. It’s hard to remember what life was like before Lincoln,” says Brad Kohlman, pictured with his wife, Megan, and their son, born in March at the Via Christi NewLife Center.


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Major league expectations

Despite curve balls, new parents cherish their baby’s rookie year

Brad and Megan Kohlman of Augusta love Kansas City Royals baseball. So it was fitting that at just 4 months old, their son, Lincoln, attended his first home game. This past June, decked out in the team’s colors and logo, he took in the sights and sounds of Kauffman Stadium with Mom and Dad.

“We found out that Lincoln really doesn’t like large crowds cheering, but he did enjoy being carried around the stadium to look at all the people and fountains,” says Brad, 28.

Their blue-eyed baby who loves being outdoors, and according to Brad, “has the cutest smile in the world,” is the picture of health. But a special family outing such as this was uncertain three months earlier.

‘Absolutely terrified’

Megan, 27, recalls that at 19 days old, Lincoln was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Via Christi Hospital St. Joseph, the same Wichita hospital where he was born.

“I was absolutely terrified,” says Megan, recalling the week Lincoln spent in isolation on IV antibiotics fighting an infection. She combatted feeling helpless by rooming in with him — being there to nurse, change and rock him.

“I never imagined my 3-week-old would have an IV and have to have a spinal tap,” says Brad. “I kind of felt cheated at first, asking, ‘Why does this have to happen?’ But then I realized that we were lucky compared to most of the other families with babies in the NICU.”

Brad says the nurses were amazing.

“I knew we were in great hands because of the level of care they provided. I know it isn’t true, but the way they treated us made us feel like we were their favorite patients.”

Thankfully, Lincoln recovered and since has thrived.

“He’s kept us on our toes from day one,” says Megan, recalling challenges they faced with his delivery.

‘Nothing else mattered’

As with many moms-to-be, Megan’s birth plan — the preferences for labor and delivery — went differently than she’d envisioned. Because Lincoln measured large during a 37-week ultrasound, and after passing her 40-week due date, her obstetrician, Andrea Fullerton, MD, of Via Christi Clinic in Wichita, scheduled her for a March 22 labor induction.

That day, hours of labor complications then fetal stress prompted Dr. Fullerton to transition the Kohlmans to a cesarean section delivery to keep mom and baby safe.

“It can be overwhelming for parents to have a sudden change in their plan during such an important moment,” says Dr. Fullerton. “It’s my job to take the fear out of the situation and make sure they still have a special birth experience.”

That reassurance is forged throughout the entire prenatal care experience up through the moment of safe delivery, she adds, and open communication is key.

In the operating room when Dr. Fullerton delivered his son, Brad recalls “an instantaneous overwhelming feeling of love for Lincoln.” Megan says all her concerns melted away when she saw her baby.

“I knew everything was going to be OK. I was fine, he was healthy and nothing else mattered,” she says. “We didn’t choose to have a C-section or have our baby in the NICU, but we had really good experiences at Via Christi and really good people taking care of us every step of the way.”

 

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Pregnancy pointers

Elda Perales, MD, with Via Christi Clinic Obstetrics and Gynecology, shares common wellness tips for expectant moms. To learn more about the Via Christi Clinic OB/GYN team serving Wichita, Derby and Newton, visit viachristiclinic.com/obgyn, or call 316-636-1550.

Kitty litter
Avoid litter boxes or cleaning after other pets to protect against toxoplasmosis, a disease that can harm your baby. Great hand washing is essential to keeping germs at bay.

Morning sickness
If you experience morning sickness, rest assured it typically subsides after the first trimester. Over-the-counter aids such as vitamin B6 and ginger can help, but if you don’t experience improvement, ask your doctor about prescription medication.

Vitamins
Take a daily prenatal vitamin with 4 mg folic acid to reduce risk of birth defects associated with the nervous system. Start before conception because the nervous system begins to form soon after.

Exercise
Healthy moms-to-be should get 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily, such as walking. Avoid activities with high impact or fall risk.

 

 
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