Taking First Steps Together

Honoring Babies Past and Present

The first moments of a new baby’s life are precious beyond words. A tiny newcomer joins a family, a community, the world. The joy is forever etched in the hearts of parents, grandparents and young siblings. Winchester Hospital is thrilled and honored to be a part of that experience for the 2,200 babies who take their first breath here each year.

Celebrating and sharing

To celebrate the exciting occasion, families are able to make a gift through the First Steps program at the hospital and etch their newborn’s name onto a gold or pearl footprint plaque displayed on the Donor Wall outside the Mother Baby Unit.

“When I saw the impressive wall of plaques, I wondered, ‘What is this all about?’” said new grandfather Jim Miller of Alton Bay, New Hampshire. “When a nurse explained it, my wife, Renee, and I were thrilled to do something benevolent for other babies while recognizing young Donovan. And I am looking forward to going back for a family photo in front of his plaque.”

First Steps plaques are the perfect way for families to commemorate a most special day. Some families have called it their very first birth announcement! And siblings may share in the honor with a plaque of their own.

One unique plaque is shared by a father and son. Jonathan Fallon of Woburn was born at Winchester Hospital in 1981, and when he and Jaclyn Moreau welcomed their newborn son, Nathan Henry, in 2017, Fallon was excited to have a plaque with both of their names and birth dates displayed. “My family has a long history with Winchester Hospital: Two of my aunts worked there; my mother and three of her siblings were born there; then I was born there, and now my son!” said Fallon. “And making a gift to First Steps for the next generation feels good.”

Paving the path for future footsteps

Importantly, the funds act as a gift to future babies, creating enhancements to care in the Mother Baby Unit and Special Care Nursery. First Steps pays it forward for generations of the littlest patients. “We even had grandparents who invited baby shower guests to contribute towards a plaque,” said Geri Wilson, Nurse Manager. “Their grandchild had arrived early and spent a month in our Special Care Nursery. The group gift was in gratitude for that care.” There are beautiful stories behind each one of the First Steps plaques.

Winchester Hospital has a longstanding reputation for providing the highest quality and most compassionate maternity care, including prenatal, birthing, postpartum, breastfeeding and more. New investments in this area support important enhancements.

“Our donors understand the challenging financial environment in health care today,” explained Donna Sherrill, Director of Maternal Child Health and Surgical Services, who has honored eight family members with First Steps plaques. “The special touches depend on the generosity of our donors.”

Since launching the program in October 2016, First Steps has raised more than $26,000. Among the enhancements these funds have made possible are:

  • Improvements to the family waiting area, offering a comfortable space for families during an anxious and exciting time.
  • Expanded access to the hospital’s innovative “Baby Box” program, allowing all babies born at Winchester Hospital to go home with light, portable infant sleep surface designed for safe sleep.