Members of the Knights of Columbus that helped TLC acquire the funds for their new ultrasound machine paid a visit to TLC to see the new machine. From left are Andy McCoy, Bill McDonagh, Steven Sellars, Doug Riles, Gary Wynia. Photo by Bruce Karnick
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TLC receives new ultrasound machine

By Bruce Karnick

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TLC (Total Life Care) of Hastings, is a pregnancy resource center that serves the Hastings community by providing lifeaffirming pregnancy and parenting education and support. Part of that support is being able to offer early pregnancy ultrasounds that may not be available to expecting mothers otherwise.

“Very early pregnancy, proving is the biggest thing because we can we have such a better image with this machine than our old machine. We can show them very early on that there's life. I can see the heartbeat. And I can show them that. They don't have to just take my word for it. They can see it with their own eyes,” explained Rhonda Pelzer, Nurse Manager for TLC.

Pelzer often shows the first ultrasound around seven weeks but that means the baby is less than a centimeter long, so the new ultrasound machine plays a huge role in showing them exactly what is going on inside them with the pregnancy.

“It helps them to understand what's happening in their body, because they may not feel anything. They may feel nauseated. But they're definitely not going to feel movement. They're not going to know for sure. Am I pregnant? Or am I not? Because you can take a test. And that can be false, that can be faulty information. It shows them exactly what's happening in their body before they're ever going to see anything else. Typically, we do the very early one, then we invite them back to see baby's growth around 12 to 14 weeks. Typically, they're not going to have an ultrasound in the clinic or the hospital. It helps them to see that baby's growing. Things are progressing. They kind of connect with that baby, and it helps them to plan. They know for sure, okay, yeah, now I'm having a baby now. Now I need to figure out what I'm doing.” added Pelzer.

TLC has had an ultrasound machine for quite some time. The issue was technology, especially medical technology, typically becomes outdated around the sixyear mark.

“Our machine was coming up on almost nine years old,” said Andrea Kullman, Executive Director of TLC. “As a smaller nonprofit, we utilize things as long as we can. Around Christmas, some donors came in, and they were facilitating a gift for a gentleman who has money to give to charities. They asked about our needs, and I spoke about our ultrasound machine and the need. They immediately felt that that was the right place to do that. They launched our campaign and got us going because we have the cost of the machine and then usually put some money aside to be able to cover anything that would go above and beyond the warranties that were given. Then we upgraded and had a larger screen put in the room because the ultrasound has its own screen. But we like to have family in the room dad, the mothers’ parents or siblings, whomever else, to be able to see that little one on a screen as well.”

The group Kullman mentioned was the Knights of Columbus (K of C). The K of C is a global Catholic fraternal service order that was founded in 1882 by Father Michael McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut. Part of the K of C’s charitable work goes to their Culture of Life Fund, which has donated over 1,500 ultrasound machines to organizations much like TLC. This was a natural fit for them.

“We paid for 50 percent of it, and our Supreme Council office in New Haven, Conn. gave us a grant for the other 50 percent. It's totally paid for by the Knights of Columbus, and it was a little over $31,000,” said Andy McCoy, from the Knights of Columbus.

The local council needs to raise 50 percent of the cost before the Supreme Council will contribute. At a $31,000 plus price tag, that can be a lot of work normally. The council typically needs to buy the device and then be reimbursed from the Supreme Council. The local council had a certificate of deposit, and they opted to spend it to help TLC and the regional mothers.

The ultrasound not only helps mom understand what she is going through, it also helps give them a more accurate due date, based on the size of the fetus.

TLC stands for Total Lifecare Center. They are not just there to help during the pregnancy, but also after. They have over 200 classes for moms and dads to participate in through an online catalog. They also have their baby café where parents can come in and “shop” for supplies they need. The whole point of TLC is providing that training and support to make sure families are in the best position to grow in a healthy way.

TLC has a strong web of community support, but they can and do always need more support. Financial donations are always a great idea as are material donations. Their needs from a material standpoint change frequently and are updated on the TLC website, tlchastings.org/donations/.

To learn more about TLC and their mission, visit TLCHastings.org.

September 21, 2022