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.
Megan, 27, recalls that at 19 days old, Lincoln was admitted to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Ascension Via Christi 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.”
He 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 1,” 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 Ascension Medical Group 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.”