Article and Photos by Jody Kerzman

There’s just something about a baby. They can instantly light up a room and bring a smile to someone’s face. Just ask the residents at the Baptist Home Health Care Center in Bismarck.

“They’re just precious. I think every nursing home should have babies come visit. They make you forget about yourself, and we gravitate toward them. Everyone loves babies,” says Delila Mayer.  Delila is a resident at the Baptist home, but she is also a mom and a grandma.

“They’re just so refreshing. These babies just make you happy,” says Delila.

“I love to see them interact and the joy they bring and the interaction they have with each other. It’s very heartwarming. We love it when they come to visit us,” says Sandy Fisher, a Baptist Home resident who raised four sons of her own.

This visit in mid-April was the second visit for moms Miquela and Zena and their little girls, eight-month-old Elowen and two-year-old Trena.

“The first time I was here was for the baby shower they threw for us,” recalls Miquela Butz. “They gave us so many much-needed things like outfits and diapers and other awesome necessities. We also got to spend time with the residents. They got to hold the babies and just spend time together. It was so much fun.”

Every January, FirstChoice Clinic is the recipient of the Area’s Largest Baby Shower, where businesses, organizations, churches, and individuals in Bismarck, Fargo, and Devils Lake donate items to FirstChoice moms. This year, the residents at the Baptist Home wanted to get involved.

“They took up an offering and bought some baby items. I collected items from them and talked with them a little about FirstChoice Clinic,” explains Shelle Aberle, FirstChoice development director. “But me standing up there just talking isn’t very dynamic. I thought it would be great to have some of our clients bring their babies so the residents could see first hand what their gift helped with last year and see these little ones wearing some of the things they donated.”

The idea went over better than Shelle ever dreamed it would.

“Young moms talked about how they got to FirstChoice Clinic and how their gifts blessed them. They know they have been blessed by the community, and they understand what it’s like to be alone. Not that all the residents there are alone, but a nursing home can be a lonely place. The moms saw this as a chance to give back. They mingled and talked with residents. I just saw such a joy in the room,” recalls Shelle. “One of the residents commented, ‘We never get to see babies.’”

“It just makes my heart so happy when Trena makes anyone smile,” says Zena Zuther, mom to two-year-old Trena. “Seeing how happy the residents are is so great. The residents always light up when a new baby comes in.  And the babies love it, of course—what baby doesn’t love being the center of attention?“

“It was really fun,” says Miquela. “In fact, we had so much fun we decided to plan a baby bash, birthday party type thing. We’ll have activities the residents and the babies can do together. It’s going to be a great time.”

“It’s great when the residents can be involved in outreach like this,” says Merle Hoots, Baptist Home Chaplain. “We like it when our residents can give to a mission and actually see the results of their gifts.”

For Delila, it’s a little extra special. She wrote a book about her son’s death, and all the proceeds go to the FirstChoice Clinic.

“It’s an organization that is near and dear to my heart,” she says.

“It’s neat to see the generations come together, and to see how you can touch someone’s heart just by reaching out,” adds Shelle.

“This is now a project our clients are leading, it is not a FirstChoice project. I am so proud of these girls.”  

FirstChoice Clinic provides free and confidential services including pregnancy testing, limited OB ultrasound, pregnancy option information, prenatal and parenting education classes, and more. Click here to learn more.