Kathy Bak has welcomed the arrival of hundreds, maybe thousands of babies during her many years as a labor and delivery nurse at the Hospital of Central Connecticut. But 21 of those births have been extra special. Two were her grandchildren and 19 were her great nieces and nephews.
Bak’s two children and all of her nieces and nephews (the parents of the latest 21-member brood) also were also born at HOCC. That makes two generations of Bak’s family who started their lives at HOCC.
Most of the babies were delivered by veteran obstetrician Dr. Jeffrey Mihalek, with Drs. Kristina Hennessey-Hill and Kristen Kerrigan stepping in on Mihalek’s rare days off. Family members credited the doctors and their trust of the hospital and everybody who works there for their loyalty to the Family BirthPlace at HOCC.
Bak has attended each grandchild’s and great niece or nephew’s birth over the past 12 years. Little ones who may have needed a stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) also were greeted by a familiar face. Bak’s niece, Laura Melnyck (mother of two girls in the photo and Aunt Laura to the rest of them) is a NICU nurse at HOCC.
This month, the number of Bak’s relatives born at the Family BirthPlace is expected to grow again, with her daughter expecting her third child, a boy, in the middle of the month. So next year’s family portrait will feature 22 kids born at the Family BirthPlace at HOCC.