Senior missionary and volunteer nurse Kathy Black celebrated the 100th baby born under her program where she visits and helps expectant mothers. Black brought a cake to celebrate with the family on March 17.
"I started my program on Oct. 1, 2015 exactly,” said Black. “I kept statistical records since I knew all about charting. I wanted to know how many babies were under my program, and I can’t believe it was 100.”
Yi Gyung Ran, BYU-Hawaii alumni from South Korea is married to Kisuk Jeong, a computer science junior also from South Korea. The couple became parents five days before the interview. “Before I had my son Inho, Sister Black came to visit me and told me everything I needed to bring to the hospital,” said Ran. “She made me feel more comfortable about the birthing process.”
Ran said she and her husband were watching a movie when she began to feel contractions. “I remembered that Sister Black had told me to wait until they were 5 minutes apart to go to the hospital. I timed them, and they were exactly 5 minutes apart!”
The couple said they called their friend for a ride and drove to Castle Hospital in Kailua.
“It was really painful. I didn’t want to cry or scream in front of our friend, so I squeezed Kisuk’s hand really tight,” Ran said as she reenacted holding her husband’s hand.
Black was originally called on a mission to help her husband in the Human Resources Department but said it didn’t feel like it was what she wanted to do. The staff at the Health Center heard she held a current license in nursing and invited her to one of their meetings.
“After the meeting, I walked out with a box full of medical equipment and well wishes from the staff,” said Black. The staff discussed a strong need in the campus community for a nurse to check on all the new mothers after their babies were born. Black was chosen to begin the new program. “Before leaving on our mission, I had a premonition to bring my scrubs and lab coat and I’m so glad I did.
“I was a nurse practitioner teaching medical terminology when we got our mission call. I never could stop working. I just love it. So of course, I knew my charting, and I charted all the new babies at BYUH who I was able to serve,” Black said with a smile.
“Originally, I was asked to visit the new mothers after they had their babies, but I soon realized that seeing them for a prenatal appointment (before the baby was born) was the most needed visit,” said Black. “Since I was already a licensed nurse in Indiana and Utah, BYUH helped me get my license for Hawaii.”
Black said she did some research and found that about half of the new moms were able to have their own mothers come out here to help them, but the other half did not. “I kept track of where all the new mothers were from and wrote down the statistics. American women had the most babies, second was China, and third was the Philippines. The clinic had previously thought future mothers on campus wouldn’t be able to have their own mothers visit them, but through my studies, I found that it was about half.”
Since some of the TVA residents’ mothers were unable to fly to Hawaii to help with their grandchild, Black said she felt like a surrogate mother. “When you are about to have your very first baby, there are always lots of questions. It’s a very big event, and it’s their very first time.
“Doctors often set their next appointment to see their patient one-and-a-half to two months after birth. There are a lot of concerns that arise during this time, and their doctor’s visit is so far away. I’m here to help them in between those times,” said Sister Black.
Nikki Soloa’i, a BYUH alumni from the Philippines and patient of Black, said, “Sister Black was so helpful for me. I definitely think this program should continue forever.” Soloa’i said it was nice to have someone she could call and have come over if she was worried about her baby.
Black said, “I usually have appointments made for me, but when mothers call me, I know it is high priority. The most serious incident was when I received a phone call from a new mother saying that her infant was having seizures with a fever of 103. At that point, I called up the head nurse and let them know the baby needs to be seen immediately.”
Sister Black and her husband finished their mission on Tuesday, March 28. They now reside in Utah.