Just look at a family photo and you'll see that Kimberly Gozum knows oodles about maternity units. Kimberly and her husband Freddy have seven children. They range in age from 19-years to 1-year.
"I guess you can say that I'm addicted to motherhood," Kimberly says.
This morning the two youngest, Paisley (age 2) and Emerson (age 1) are busy, busy, busy. While Emerson smacks his lips and smiles, Paisley carries her older sister's sequined cheerleading outfit around the house and asks sweetly if she can put it on.
Paisley keeps saying she wants to "pop it," a stunt where a cheerleader is tossed up in the air and then caught. It might explain the tiny pink cast on her arm.
Kimberly thinks practicing the stunt lead to the fracture, but it wasn't what the older children admitted to. "The more children you have, the more they can conspire against you," she says.
"But that's ok," she adds. "I guess I'm also addicted to house full of controlled chaos."
A native of Orange County, California, Kimberly moved to the Greater Lehigh Valley in 2005. She was looking for something new and wanted to be closer to Freddy's family.
At that point, Kimberly had Emily, Riley, Presley and Elley. But she was ready for more.
Next came Grayson who was born at an area hospital, but the experience wasn't what Kimberly had expected. So as she and Freddy worked on having another child, Kimberly also worked to find a more unique birth experience.
That's when she met the OB/GYN team at Easton Hospital. "When I first met my doctor, I thought, 'I'm going to keep on having babies just so I can see you,'" she says. "The OB/GYNs really get to know you and makes you feel part of a family."
But getting pregnant after having Grayson became difficult. For three years Kimberly and Freddy tried. "My doctor was there throughout our fertility journey," Gozum says. "The doctor was concerned for us and really wanted it to happen."
Soon Kimberly and Freddy decided on invitro fertilization. She adds, "We were even hoping for multiples." When she became pregnant, the next step was finding a birth experience that more aligned with her hopes.
"I call Easton Hospital my Bed and Breakfast," she says. "The service, people and experience were first rate and incredibly personal."
While Kimberly's labor with her first child lasted three days, the labor for all the other children was six to seven hours. So she knew what to expect.
What exceeded expectations was the level of comfort and care at Easton. "The nurses managed my pain, sat with me, rubbed my back and wanted to hear my story," she says. "It was like sitting in room full of doulas."
Nurse practitioner from the doctor's office even came for a visit. "It was her day off, but she stopped in and sat with me for nearly 30 minutes when she heard I was in labor," she says.
After her standard six-hour labor, Paisley was born. And the care only got better. "The overnight nurses tiptoed around so as not to disturb my sleep," Gozum says. "The entire staff would almost anticipate when I might ring my bell and were always ready with whatever I might need."
After struggling for three years with becoming pregnant, Kimberly and Freddy were surprised by baby Emerson. "We didn't think we'd be able to have any more children, so getting pregnant with Emerson was a sweet surprise."
And it seemed to prove her adage: "If there were more doctors like those at Easton, there'd be a lot more babies."
Again they came to Easton Hospital. This time, it was on Super Bowl Sunday. Kimberly says the doctor left a house full of people to deliver her. She felt bad about the OB/GYN team missing the big game, but she remembers what they said when they walked in her room: "We wouldn't miss this for the world."
Emerson is the only child she delivered without an epidural. "The contractions were painful," she says. "But I bounced on a yoga ball, practiced my breathing and listened to my encouraging nurses."
Emerson's arrival did create one tiny problem...finding room in their house!
Kimberly and Freddy are planning to remodel in order to accommodate all the kids. Their eldest daughter is a sophomore in college studying midwifery who likes living at home.
In fact, the oldest children keep saying Kimberly should have one more baby. While there are no plans for more, Kimberly says more would be happily accepted.
"The children are close knit and care for and look after each other," she says. "So maybe we'll be inspired after a few more visits to the doctor."
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Easton, PA 18042-3892