You’ll Never Be Prepared To Become A Parent


No matter how “prepared” I thought I was to be a parent, I wasn’t. I became a mom at 35, so I watched friends and family have kids. Before my kids came into my life, I would say to myself, “When I’m a parent, I’m going to do [fill in the blank].”

Oh, honey. No, you’re not.

Being a parent is the single hardest thing I’ll do in my life. The fact that my kids are twins adds a whole new dimension. But there are a few things I wish I had known or thoroughly understood before holding my two little bundles of joy.

There will come a time when bodily fluids won’t gross you out. My little girl had reflux, so being covered in spit up regularly was par for the course. Remember that show, “You Can’t Do That on Television”? The one where everyone got slimed? Yeah, that was our house. Also, we have a boy. Catching pee so it didn’t hit the TV remote or the leather couch became the norm as well. Note: Spit up and pee aren’t even the grossest things that can happen in a day.

You will mourn your old life and that’s okay. It wasn’t easy for me to adjust to the life of a mom with twins. I thought I’d be able to do all the things I usually do, just with two babies in tow. That doesn’t work out at the beginning; or right now, actually. With feeding schedules and naps, the winter cold and sicknesses, my personal life changed drastically. But even though it’s not the same, it’s better now. It took me a while to get there, but here I am. Late, as moms of twins tend to be.

You do not know the meaning of the phrase, “sleep deprivation.” You don’t. Just accept that. At first my kids fed every two hours. They took 30 minutes to eat and 30 minutes to sit up and digest. An hour later we were back at it. We still get woken up at night, but nothing a re-tucking of the covers won’t fix. I am assured that one day, I will wake up AFTER the sun has risen. One day.

Hot food is a luxury. I think I’m just used to eating lukewarm or cold food now. By the time dinner is ready and you get everyone in their seats with bibs and cups, cut up their food, serve your own, get whatever they dropped on the floor, sit down and get back up to get something else, your food is cold. When you get the chance to eat hot food, take it.

You will be surprised that you are capable of feeling so intensely. It might not come right away, but soon enough, you’ll be so in love with your kids that you can’t imagine anything you wouldn’t do for them—including not flinching when someone hands you a half-chewed olive at the dinner table during your mother-in-law’s birthday party.

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

Memorable Moments of 2013 From Beaumont Children’s Hospital

First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder at Beaumont Children's Hospital this past March

First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder at Beaumont Children’s Hospital this past March

One of the great things about health care is there is always the opportunity for growth — whether it be patient care, advances in research, in technology or more community support. Long one of the cornerstones of the science of medicine, Beaumont researchers are finding new and innovative ways to treat many conditions and illnesses. Here are some 2013 moments:

• Beaumont Children’s Hospital expanded its neuroscience services Jan. 7 with a Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic, offering treatment options and services for infants, children and teens with seizures and epilepsy.

• Beaumont Children’s Hospital opened a Sickle Cell Anemia Center offering comprehensive, specialized care for infants, children and adolescents with sickle cell anemia and sickle-thalassemia syndromes.

• In a study published in the April issue of the journal Resuscitation, Beaumont doctors found that cardiac arrests in K-12 schools are extremely rare, less than 0.2 percent, but out of 47 people who experienced cardiac arrest over a six-year period at K-12 schools, only 15 survived. Th e survival rate was three times greater, however, when bystanders used a device called an automated external defibrillator, or AED, that helps the heart restore a normal rhythm. Th e study “Cardiac Arrests in Schools: Assessing use of Automated External Defibrillators on School Campuses,” was led by principal investigator Robert Swor, D.O., Emergency Medicine physician at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, and a research team including Edward Walton, M.D., Beaumont’s director of pediatric emergency medicine.

• It’s called PAWS – the pediatric advance warning score. Caregivers throughout Beaumont began using PAWS at the beginning of May to help predict if a child’s health status is likely to decline. Th e system also gives guidance for providers to follow when scores reach a particular number.

• After a successful year-long pilot at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, the Parenting Program is offering first-time parents in-room car seat safety education at both the Troy and Royal Oak hospitals. “We have one certified car seat safety technician at each hospital,” says Deanna Robb, director, Parenting Program. “They are especially sensitive to the high anxiety of new parents. Before we had this program in place, we provided families with a list of community resources, including Safety City U.S.A., but now parents can get a little more immediate security knowing how to properly use and install their car seat.”

• First lady of Michigan Sue Snyder announced her support of programs launched by the Michigan Departments of Human Services and Community Health to combat the nearly 150 fully preventable accidental suffocation infant deaths annually due to unsafe sleep environments. The announcement was made at Beaumont Children’s Hospital March 25.

• Beaumont offered the community a flu hotline to call with questions.

• At the Radiothon for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, a record-breaking $152,000 was raised for kids at Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

• Beaumont Health System announced a $5 million gift from Danialle and Peter Karmanos Jr. The gift will create the Karmanos Center for Natural Birth and the Danialle & Peter Karmanos Jr. Birth Center at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2014! Happy New Year!

Rush Delivery: Cardiac Nurse Helps Patient Birth Baby in Hospital Driveway

Anna Wanagat delivered baby Joshua at the West Entrance of Beaumont Hospital, Troy with the help of cardiac nurse Colleen Joseph, R.N.

Anna Wanagat delivered baby Joshua at the West Entrance of Beaumont Hospital, Troy with the help of cardiac nurse Colleen Joseph, R.N.

In the pre-dawn hours of Aug. 26, Colleen Joseph, R.N., and the Wanagat family were about to share a moment no one would ever forget.

Anna Wanagat’s baby wasn’t due until the first week of September, but when her water broke at 4:45 a.m. that Monday morning, she knew she would be heading to the hospital earlier than expected.

Meanwhile, Colleen, who friends call CJ, a nursing educator for the cardiac progressive care unit at Beaumont Hospital, Troy, was getting ready to head to work a little early to set up for a co-worker’s birthday celebration.

“I normally get to work early, but I wanted to get here extra early to set up,” says CJ. “I dragged my feet a little that morning, but as I was driving down Dequindre, I felt like I needed to rush.”

CJ pulled up to the West Entrance to unload party supplies. But as she was getting out of her car, another vehicle pulled up behind her and she heard screaming. “I remember pulling into the West Entrance and thought we’d be able to get a wheelchair,” says Scott Wanagat,

Anna’s husband. “When I opened the car door, I saw the baby coming out and thought ‘I have to find something to catch him in!’” Luckily, CJ ran to help. “I instructed the father to run in and call a ‘code.’ I was hoping that I could just sit there with his little head in my hands until the code team got there,” remembers CJ.

“As soon as Colleen showed up, she said we needed to get the seat laying down, so I jumped in back and moved a car seat so Anna could lay down,” says Scott. “That’s when he started making his way out.”

A cardiac nurse for 23 years, CJ has never experienced anything like this. “As soon as Scott put the seat back, out came little Joshua,” she says. “Inside I was shaking. I’ve never done anything like this. Th e closest I’ve come is maybe a Lifetime movie. It was incredible having that little life in my hands.”

Joshua Salvatore Wanagat made his world debut at 5:45 a.m. inside his parent’s car, in the driveway of Beaumont, Troy. He joins his big brother, Lucas, who is 3.

The shock of the moment is still settling in, though. “I can do CPR, pull a femoral line, jump on a chest, anything. But never deliver a baby!” says CJ. “I feel so good about having been placed in that moment and I know that wasn’t by my design.”

The proud parents were incredibly relieved to see Colleen jump out of the car ahead of them. “I caught her white coat out of the corner of my eye,” Scott says. “When I heard her yell through the door I thought, ‘Thank God someone who knows what’s going on is here.’”

Though not the birthing experience she expected, Anna says, “Thank God a nurse was there! She rushed to our rescue!”

Heads Up: An Odd-Shaped Head at Birth is Nothing To Be Alarmed About


Hi. My name is Rebecca. My birth story isn’t typical, but it’s not all that unusual, either.

You see, I was “expecting” for about 18 months. We began the adoption process in June 2010 (holy paperwork, Batman!) and became the very proud parents of twins in December 2011. We had three weeks’ notice to prepare for two babies.

We met our birthmom and her case worker at a local mall play area. She had a notebook full of questions, which we were happy to answer. Her decision to make an adoption plan was confident, thoughtful and considerate, which made our adoption process move along like a dream.

A week after we met her, she invited us to her home just three miles away from ours to get to know each other better. We met her son, our kids’ half-brother, and learned her history. She was completely wonderful.

It was just a little more than a week after that when we received a call from her. This wasn’t like her, since she always preferred communicating through our adoption agency. She said that all day she wasn’t feeling well and decided to go to the emergency room, just to make sure everything was alright. Good thing she did because those babies wanted out!

In a panicked hustle we sped to the hospital and 97 minutes later we were parents to a 4-pound, 10 ounce girl and a 5-pound, 1-ounce boy. They were six weeks premature.

Our daughter was the first baby born. She was head down, so her brother was sitting on her head for 34 weeks. When the doctor showed her to us for the first time, we had no idea what to think except maybe “Igor” would be a more fitting name than the one we had chosen.

Then out came our boy. I was a little worried at first, but his head was perfect. I’m happy to say that my daughter now has a normal shaped head and big, blue eyes—a real heart-breaker.

Was your child born with a funny-shaped head? Did you see your baby for the first time and think, “Hmmm”?

Being the adoptive parent of multiples is a challenging experience, but it also brings unimaginable joy. I’m happy to share that with you all.

—Rebecca Calappi, Publications Coordinator at Beaumont Health System and adoptive parent of multiples

Reinforcement of Colostrum as “Liquid Gold”

The ingredient called pancreatic secretory trypsin inhibitor, or PSTI, is found at its highest levels in colostrum — the milk produced in the first few days after birth.

The lining of a newborn’s gut is particularly vulnerable to damage as it has never been exposed to food or drink. The new study highlights the importance of breastfeeding in the first few days after the birth.

The researchers found small amounts of PSTI in all the samples of breast milk they tested but it was seven times more concentrated in colostrum samples. The ingredient was not found in formula milk.

The researchers examined the effects of PSTI on human intestinal cells in the lab. When they inflicted damage to the cells they found that PSTI stimulated the cells to move across the damaged area forming a natural protective ‘plaster’. They also found that PSTI could prevent further damage by stopping the cells of the intestine from self-destructing. Additional research suggests that PSTI could reduce damage by 75 per cent.

PSTI is a molecule which is normally found in the pancreas where it protects the organ from being damaged by the digestive enzymes it produces. Research suggests that it plays a similar protective role in the gut. (Science Dailey, June 30, 2009)

If you are struggling with breastfeeding, contact Beaumont’s Parenting Program for resources.

Also, check out this valuable information about the first few weeks with your baby.

–Mary Anne Kenerson RN, Coordinator, Prenatal & Family Education at Beaumont