“Our family has come a long way over the years, but we haven’t gone far from our roots,” said lifelong Mt. Sinai resident Kim Kramer-Romero. Kim purchased her childhood home from her mother and is now raising her two girls there. And when it came time to have children of her own, Kim chose St. Charles, just like her mother and her aunt before her.
“My doctors, Collier and Bruin, were located on Belle Terre Road, and they were connected to St. Charles,” explained Kim’s mother, Arlene Kramer. “My sister recommended them to me and that was the way it was. She had all three [of her children] at St. Charles, Dr. Bruin delivered both of my children there, and now we’re on to the second generation.”
Arlene recalled Kim’s birth day saying, “She was born on January 7, 1977 and there was a snow storm. The day I went into labor, we were coming to St. Charles Hospital—there was a ramp and lots of steps—and snowflakes started to fall.”
“I didn’t think anything of it because it was January. But the next day there was so much snow on the ground, my husband barely got out of the parking lot. That was a major storm. It was tough on him going back and forth from home while I was at St. Charles. They didn’t have 4x4s back then. We had a '72 Malibu with two doors. And they didn’t have car seats for infants,” she said.
Arlene continued, “I was at St. Charles for four days. There were four [mothers] in our room. I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the last room, all the way down at the end of the hallway. I could hear the wind howling outside.”
In spite of the storm, Arlene remembers Kim’s arrival fondly. “It was an amazing experience. St. Charles was just absolutely wonderful. I had always wanted a girl. Kim was 7 pounds, 14 and half ounces, 20 inches at birth, and the love of my life. She still is.”
Almost thirty years later Kim delivered her first baby at St. Charles and six years after that, her second. Unlike her mother, however, both of Kim’s daughters were born on hot summer days with no hint of snow. Kim remembers her second stay at St. Charles more easily than her first.
“I guess maybe because it is closer in my memory,” explained Kim. “With Leah [her older daughter] the first 24 hours [after giving birth] were a blur. I had never been around babies; The nurse had to show me how to change her diaper. It’s very humbling,” admitted Kim.
“But it’s very important the first time around because in a few days you have to get up and take care of this baby. The nurses said, 'Ask us if you feel like you can’t do it’,’ but otherwise you can do little things, like get up and go down [the hall] to get your breakfast [at the breakfast buffet] or bring your baby back to the nursery. I felt it was a nice balance. It was a nice way to get back on your feet while being supported, which is what you need.”
“With Sarah [her second child] maybe I was more confident, but I did notice some changes. I felt like I was on vacation, like I was away. I mean, you call in your food order. It was like I was at a hotel,” said Kim, “I felt very well taken care of even though it [the maternal child unit] was busy. I mean it was packed. But no matter what, a nurse was always there to help. The nurses were wonderful. They could never do enough for you.”
“The babies too,” adds Arlene. “You could see them taking care of the babies when you go to the nursery window.”
Kim shares her mother’s sentiment for their family traditions.
“I have a picture of my mom holding me in her hospital bed and photos of me holding my little ones in the same hospital. It’s so special to me that my daughters began their lives in the same place that I did,” she said.