Daniel Kimmel-Terra wanted privacy for his interview — much like his moms wanted privacy in the hospital room nine years ago so that his ears would hear his mothers’ voices first.
His moms, Jennifer Terra and Alison Kimmel, both of whom teach at schools in Davis, have come back to Sutter Davis Hospital’s Birthing Center every year with Daniel on his birthday to thank the nurses and staff for how well they were treated during a difficult pregnancy.
“I would like to say thanks to the hospital for helping a lot of people being born,” said Daniel, taking a break from a handheld video game.
Though Daniel wants to be a potion scientist when he’s grown, for many years there was no magic available to allow the partner of an expecting mother in a same-sex couple to be in the room as his or her child first sees the world.
Federal regulations require hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs to have written policies regarding patients’ visitation rights, including a prohibition on discrimination in visitation based on sexual orientation and gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign, the largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans.
California is one of 27 states that extend visitation rights to same-sex couples either through marriage-equality provisions or through a designated visitor status, the site said.
At a worrisome time — the possibility of an early delivery and the death of an extended family member — mom-to-be Terra was comforted by only a glance from nurse Annie Ventresco, the charge nurse who oversees the Sutter Davis Birthing Center.
“There was some scary conversation about how that was going to work,” said Terra, who teaches physical education and peer helping at Emerson Junior High. “One of the nurses was looking at me and she made eye contact with me, and how I read that was that she was telling me that everything was going to be OK. ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ ”
Ventresco has been grateful every year for the family’s thanks.
“I have worked here 15 years, and they’ve come every year,” she said. “For his birthday, they’ve given us gifts. We have families that come back and show appreciation, but not every year. I see their family around town and it’s just lovely that they are members of this community and they really value what we do in the community, which is what their appreciation really shows us.”
After a 39-hour labor and a Caesarean delivery, the entire staff was silent as mom Kimmel said, “Hi, Daniel.”
“Everyone sighed. They journeyed with us,” Terra said.
— Reach Jason McAlister at firstname.lastname@example.org