For almost a century, one family has trusted the obstetric care of UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital to support the growth of their family in the Fort Collins area.
In 1939, Marie and Victor Delehoy welcomed their first child, Barbara, at Larimer County Hospital, where Poudre Valley Hospital now stands. Eighty-one years later, Zoë Follett Schnoor — Marie and Victor’s great-great-granddaughter — became the 10th descendant of the Delehoy family born at the hospital.
Four generations born at the same hospital
The family roots date back to the early 1900s. Marie was born in 1918 to Ray and Edith Young, who’d homesteaded in the early 1900s in Laporte, Colorado. The county hospital in nearby Fort Collins wasn’t built until 1925, but a Fort Collins doctor helped deliver Marie at home, according to her son, Gary Delehoy. As fruit and vegetable farmers, the couple set up shop on their homestead across from the Cache La Poudre School, which is the present-day Old Feed Store. Marie had four siblings.
Marie and Victor Delehoy met at the school. Victor’s parents, Fred and Pearl, homesteaded and farmed property between nearby towns of Bellvue and Stout. Marie and Victor wed in 1936 and lived on the Young’s Laporte property in a “shack” that still stands today, according to a 2014 article by history blogger Meg Dunn.
The couple later purchased property near Bellvue, where Barbara and Gary, along with Arlen and Keith, were raised. All four children were born at Poudre Valley Hospital.
Gary still has the hospital bill that his father received after his birth on April 30, 1947 — it was for $58.40. Marie spent about a week in the hospital, at $6 per day (there was also a separate $9 room/care charge). Her delivery room cost her $10, while “dressings and drugs” cost $6.50. And she got a “misc” discount of $3.10.
Poudre Valley Hospital: A family affair
Barbara married Hunter Follett in 1959. Hunter would go on to create the soil and water labs at Colorado State University, where the Hunter Follett Award is still given to a graduate student each year.
Barbara delivered Kevin at Poudre Valley Hospital in 1961.
“When I was born, my mom was quite sick,” Kevin said. “I was full-term, but only 3 pounds, 9 ounces — mom had preeclampsia, and she almost died. I was in the hospital’s NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for about a month. … They had the best care there, even during that time.”
Barbara and Hunter were only allowed to see Kevin through the NICU nursery window.
“Mom always told me that all the nurses loved to hold me so I became extremely spoiled and wanted to be held all the time when I got home — maybe that’s why I married a nurse,” Kevin said.
Continuing with great hospital care
In 1983, Kevin married Karen Kresie, who had gotten her nursing degree that same year from Washburn School of Nursing in Topeka, Kansas. The couple moved to Fort Collins to start their family, and Karen got a job at Poudre Valley Hospital. All three of their children, Katie, Kelsey and Kirsten, were born at Poudre Valley Hospital.
During the birth of their first child in 1987, Karen had to have an emergency C-section. Katie — like her father 26 years earlier —spent time in the NICU.
Being able to respond so quickly to the emergency situation saved the lives of his newborn and his wife, Kevin claimed.
“I wouldn’t encourage anyone to go anywhere else to have their baby,” he said about Poudre Valley Hospital.
Poudre Valley Hospital has a Level III NICU that provides services to babies born prematurely (as young as 28 weeks and as little as 2 pounds) or who have special health concerns. It’s the only NICU of its kind between the Denver area and Billings, Montana.
A shift in birthing and family care
Several decades before becoming a high-level NICU in 2006, the hospital moved to “family-centered care,” a model that supports skin-to-skin contact after birth and babies stay in the mothers’ rooms instead of a nursery, explained Julie Brain, nurse manager of the Women’s Care unit at Poudre Valley Hospital, who started at PVH around the same time as Karen.
Both nurses also worked there during the development of the Wee Steps at Poudre Valley Hospital in 1999.
As a free lactation support program, it provides resources and one-on-one guidance for mothers of newborns.
“It was originally designed to allow parents to go home, spend a night or two, work on breastfeeding, then return free of charge where we could do maternal and baby assessments, and then help with breast or formula training,” said Brain, who helped with its inception.
“We’ve made a big commitment in this organization to put the money behind the evidence,” she added.
The hospital’s support of new mothers inspired Karen to get her certified lactation counselor certification, and she is still working the Women’s Care unit today, helping new moms after they deliver. Twice now, that has included her daughter, Kelsey.
Kelsey’s first child, Oliver David Follett Schnoor, was born May 31, 2017, at Poudre Valley Hospital with Kelsey’s husband, Eli, and mother, Karen, by her side.
Great care at a familiar hospital
Kelsey was a little saddened that the birth of her second child would be different because of the coronavirus pandemic. She was expecting to only have her husband there, but the day before her delivery, visitor restrictions at UCHealth hospitals lifted to allow for two people in the birthing room. After laboring at home through the night, Kelsey arrived at Poudre Valley Hospital around 8 a.m. on June. 15.
“I wouldn’t have survived the last 48 hours without Eli — he deserves an award,” Kelsey said the day after Zoë was born. “He was there the whole labor, encouraging me, reassuring me when things got rough, and he switched off (caring for Zoë) at night so I could get some sleep. I think Zoë is keen on him. And the nurses think he’s the swaddle king.”
Karen also was able to be there for the birth at 3:16 p.m., making it for the last “big push” after having to drop Oliver off at a nearby friend’s house. Kelsey’s certified nurse midwife, Jessica Gefre, babysat for the Follett’s, when she was in high school. Also, Kelsey’s good friend, Jessica MacNaughton, was nurse in charge of the immediate care of Kelsey’s newborn after she was born.
“That was really special,” Kelsey said.
A hospital reunion of sorts
When Kelsey and Zoë were discharged on June 17, four generations of Poudre Valley Hospital-born family members were waiting for her outside, including her son, Oliver, two sisters, Katie and Kristen, her father, Kevin, and great uncle, Gary, and his wife Caryn.
For Kelsey and the family, Poudre Valley Hospital is like a second home. Kelsey remembers visiting her mom, enjoying dinners and holidays together in the cafeteria, and meeting her mother’s colleagues during visits.
“I love this hospital,” Kelsey said. “There are so many good memories here, especially delivering my son and daughter. All the nurses are amazing. They do such a good job balancing care and quality. It’s more than just a hospital — it is familiar.”