“Your experience with corporate shaming was not unique”: Karen Vaughan’s Story

In 1993 I became pregnant with twins. We knew it was a high risk pregnancy, but until 25 weeks we thought everything was progressing normally. During a routine pre-natal exam I mentioned in passing something to my doctor who immediately became alarmed and put me in the hospital on total bedrest for the remainder of my pregnancy, which ended up being about two weeks. 

I was one of the lucky ones, my girls got vitamin K shots and steroids to promote lung development. But at 27 weeks I had an emergency C-section and delivered two girls - 1lb14 oz and 2lbs 1 oz. My husband and I spent the next three months going back and forth between the hospital and home, watching our girls go through so many of the same things your daughter went through. 

We finally brought the girls home after three months in the NICU only to lose one after 30 wonderful days at home with them to SIDS. One of the things they didn't tell us when they sent us home was the exponentially higher risk to preemies and twins to this heartbreaking "syndrome.

My husband was working for a local manufacturing company at the time and during the annual meeting with the insurance rep who would review the changes to the policy and rates for the upcoming year, the rep stated, "Rates are going up because last year someone had the nerve to have twins that cost the company a lot of money." To this day, that statement still brings me to tears. 

My husband did stand up and give the rep a good scare as several of his co-workers had to physically restrain him from beating the crap out of the guy.

This story does have a happy ending. My daughter Allison, who was born at 1lb 14oz and spent the first seventeen days of her life on a ventilator and who I couldn't hold until day 24 is now a junior at UNC-Charlotte and planning on becoming a doctor. 

Like your daughter, she has overcome so many hurdles that no one should ever be subjected to, especially as a tiny baby.

I want you to know that your experience with corporate shaming is not unique, I'm just so sorry that it became so public. I know by the way you wrote about your daughter you treasure her as much as I treasure mine.

-Karen Vaughan