Blainetwins growing strong six months later

Published on Thu, Dec 7, 2006 by Jack Kintner

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Blaine twins growing strong six months later

By Jack Kintner

Twin girls born prematurely to a Blaine couple last summer were given a helping hand by St. Joseph Hospital and in gratitude the young family has started an informal fund-raising campaign to support the hospital’s childbirth center.


Dean and Rosemarie Francis’ twin girls were born June 25 but not without some anxious moments. Rosemarie had been confined to bed at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle on June 2, a little more than halfway through her pregnancy, and despite efforts to delay the birth her twins arrived a little over three weeks later, weighing less than three pounds each.


Francis came home four days after the birth but the twins stayed behind.
“There was no summer for us,” she said, “because once I got back home to Blaine we then began driving back to UW every other day to be with the girls, just holding them, and pumping milk for them.”


They were there 40 days, during which time Francis made 25 or more trips to Seattle. Early in August, the girls were still not yet ready to come home, but an arrangement was worked out with St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham to finish their care in the hospital’s special care nursery in the childbirth center.


The girls arrived in Bellingham on August 4 and, since they were so much closer, Francis was able to begin nursing them directly. Two weeks to the day later they came home to Blaine. Check-ups since then show that the girls are healthy and growing.


Francis has a birthday coming up herself, and is planning a big party for family and friends. Instead of gifts, however, she’s asking that donations be made to the St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, earmarked for the birthing center, a facility she feels strongly deserves all the support she can muster for it.


“We have good insurance, but this is the kind of care that everyone ought to be able to get so we wanted to do something to help make that happen,” Francis said, “to encourage people to do something that will help a lot of children at Christmas since we’re so happy to have ours healthy and finally home.”


As the sole major health care provider for Whatcom County, the non-profit hospital saw over 80,000 patients in 2005, roughly two-thirds of which were emergency and outpatient visits, said hospital spokesperson Nicci Noteboom.The childbirth center delivered almost 2,000 babies that year.


“We average 130 premature births a year, and transfer an average of 19 babies per year for high-risk care since we do not have a high-risk obstetric facility,” Noteboom said.


“St. Joseph cared, they really stepped in for us,” Francis said, “I can’t tell you how much it meant for us to have the babies so much closer during the final weeks.”


Donations on behalf of the girls may be earmarked for the childbirth center and made to the non-profit St. Joseph Hospital Foundation, 800 East Chestnut suite LL1, Bellingham, 98225.


Donations can also be made online at www.peacehealth.org/sjhs.