MaryClare Porter was a young mother of a 2-year-old girl when she gave birth to twins. The joy of bringing two baby boys into the world was quickly turned to fear when they needed immediate care in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
For 32 weeks, MaryClare and her husband watched as Colton and Gray went through ups and downs while nurses and doctors did everything in their power to get them well enough to go home.
To make matters worse, MaryClare’s husband, Lee, was laid off halfway through this nightmare. In the moment, the fear of losing their babies eclipsed any thought of what the layoff meant for the looming medical bills.
It wasn’t until the boys were finally home that the first wave of bills came, and then the next wave, and the next.
“After [Colton and Gray] came home we were going to three different specialists still, so it was still extremely overwhelming,” MaryClare said. “I called Seton and they said, ‘We have this Charity Care that you can apply for.’ And the lady walked me through everything I needed to do.”
MaryClare and Lee had planned to have kids young. The downside was they were not financially ready for such an unexpected, months-long medical emergency. They were trying to make ends meet and figure out how to get out from under the mountain of bills when they got another letter from Seton.
“They were going to pay for the entire stay,” she said. “It makes you think, ‘God is watching out for me. He’s got a plan.’”
Colton and Gray are 13 years old now and doing fine, their mom says — as is 15-year-old big sister, Clare.
“Watching the nurses in the NICU, it was just amazing,” she recalls. “At one point I was up there visiting and one of the boys’ oxygen started going down. His stats were dropping. Everybody kind of came over, and one of the nurses stood with me and explained what was happening.
“It’s upsetting because you want to be on that path of getting out of the hospital and then when you have to step back, it’s really hard,” she continues.
But the NICU nurses not only cared for her babies for more than half a year, they supported MaryClare during the entire time, too. It opened her eyes to true impact.
“That experience drew me to nursing,” she says. After the experience in the NICU, MaryClare earned her nursing degree and found her true calling.
After working at St. David’s for a couple of years, she found her way to the Seton Medical Center Hays Emergency Room.
What drew her to Seton? “It’s the mission,” she says. “I think that Seton has a fantastic mission to take care of the vulnerable and the sick, and I didn’t see that at the facility I was in. I wanted to be at a facility whose mission and values were aimed more towards that.”
Between the mission that hits home for her, as well as her experience receiving help when she needed it most, she is an avid supporter of Seton Cares.
“I know that this goes to a good cause,” she says. “I see those patients that come through the ER, and I’ve been there, too.
“It’s a wonderful way to reach out to those vulnerable people. They’re in a place that they don’t want to be in, and they need help. It’s amazing to be able to help and to give back.”