"There for all of us": Bobby's Story

In 1996, Valley Children’s expanded neonatal care by opening level II neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) at Adventist Health in Hanford and Mercy Medical Center in Merced. For 25 years, our specially trained experts have cared for the littlest patients born before 32 weeks gestation and older, who weigh less than 1500 grams and are in need of complex care – patients like Bobby.

Bobby’s mom, a long-time Hanford resident, was 24 weeks pregnant with him when she began to experience some complications that required bed rest. With a lot of swelling and high blood pressure that couldn’t be regulated, it was determined that Lori would have to deliver her baby prematurely in order to protect her own health and the health of her baby. On April 12, 1996, Lori gave birth to Bobby at just 29 weeks gestation, and he became one of the first patients at our Hanford NICU. At 1 lb. 14 oz., Bobby was quickly transported to Valley Children’s to be treated by the best doctors in this region who specialized in caring for the smallest patients.

“I felt scared about delivering my son early and was heartbroken to part ways with him during a time when I felt he should be closest to my heart. But I found strength in knowing that the experts at Valley Children’s could care for Bobby when I had to care for myself,” said Lori. “In order to be part of his whole life, I had to part ways with him for the first few days of his life, and knowing he was in the best hands with experts I trusted made it feel okay.”

“[The NICU staff] weren't just there for him, they were there for all of us.”
– Lori, Bobby's mom

Bobby was small, but mighty, for his size, and over the course of two months, he would gain weight and be cared for by many experts at Valley Children’s, including someone he still calls “Aunt Margaret.” She was one of Bobby’s nurses, with him every day, and got to know his entire family during their visits. “While Bobby was healthy, he was simply in the NICU to grow, and I am grateful to Margaret and to Bobby’s entire care team because they weren’t just there for him, they were there for all of us,” added Lori.

Today, at 25 years of age, Bobby’s is a sheriff’s deputy for Kings County and remains in touch with his “Aunt Margaret.” His older sister, Kelsey, inspired watching the teams who cared for her little brother, became a registered nurse.

Photo of Bobby today

Today, Bobby is a sheriff's deputy for Kings County

Specialized Care, Compassionate Care Teams

If birth comes earlier than planned, or if a complex condition requires specialized care, we are grateful to have the unparalleled expertise, compassion and devotion from some of the most experienced teams. What makes Valley Children’s NICU special is the commitment from our staff who care for our patients and their families, just as it has since the beginning.