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Kari and Brian's Story

Kari and Brian's StoryKari Stewart is living her long-time dream of being a mom.

“Someone told me, ‘I never knew anyone who wanted children as bad as you,’” said Kari, a Piqua native who met her husband, Brian, while they were students at Sidney Lehman High School nearly 20 years ago.

Married for a decade, the Stewarts have three children. Conner, age 7 ½, and Kate, 6, are students at Holy Angels school.

The youngest, Kara, was born last June.

All three Stewart children were born at Upper Valley Medical Center. Kari’s obstetrician is Dr. Victoria Ocampo. “I love her,” Kari said.

“The nurses were wonderful. They are so helpful, so friendly,” Stewart said of the hospital’s maternity services. “I like the fact that they have a Level Two (Special Care) Nursery and the lactation consultant was always helpful.”

The secure, locked nursery is a big plus, Kari said, adding, “I felt comfortable with them taking the babies to the nursery.”

Kara Stewart was one of 784 babies delivered last year at Upper Valley Medical Center. The Level Two Special Care Nursery is the only one of its kind between Dayton and Lima.  The nursery is licensed by ODH to care for high risk or compromised infants.  Babies who are premature, as young as 32 weeks gestation; babies with genetic or health problems; multiple births; or the infant of a mother with health problems such as diabetes, hypertension or drug addiction.

A baby may be in the special care nursery for a few hours, a few days or months. The longest stay has been 55 days, said Teri Gulker, BSN, MA, RN-C,NEA-BC, UVMC Director of Nursing. “I am very proud of the staff in Women’s Services.  Many of the RNs are certified in obstetrics or neonatology and several are working on advance practice (masters) degrees. The staff members are experts in their chosen field and value education,” Gulker said. “We also have staff members who are Certified Car Seat Technicians, Lactation Specialist and Childbirth Educators.”

Gulker said the nurses at UVMC work and communicate very well with the pediatricians in the Special Care Nursery.

The hospital also contracts with neonatologists from Children’s Medical Center, Dayton, to consult and see the Special Care Nursery babies. Staff members train Children’s as part of their orientation to the nursery.

The maternity service has a staff of 60, including 42 registered nurses and six obstetricians/gynecologists. The unit offers family-centered care and is licensed for 19 mothers and 31 babies at any one time.

Kari has a degree in elementary education from Wright State University and had spent a lot of time with her sister’s four children before starting her own family.

“I love children. They are just so fun,” she said. “I love being a stay-at-home mom. I have three beautiful children.” She enjoys taking photographs of her children as well as spending time with family and friends.

Brian works for the city of Sidney while Kari works one day a week at Roth Transit and sells jewelry through a home business.

The family enjoys visits to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery and to walk in local parks. “We try to keep them active for exercise. They enjoy it. It gives them something to do,” Kari said.

The family also enjoys attending Conner and Kate’s sporting events and other activities including Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

“We are always doing something with them. We are very family oriented,” Kari said.  Brian, she said, is “wonderful, a very hands-on dad.”

More information on UVMC’s maternity services is available by calling (937) 440-4900.