||The Crib Club at the Women’s Care Center in Madison offers a variety of items for families expecting a baby. (Catholic Herald photo/Mary C. Uhler)
MADISON -- Kila Hagie is expecting 155 babies! Not her own babies, of course. These are babies of pregnant women Hagie is helping at the Women’s Care Center (WCC) in Madison.
As director of the WCC, Hagie provides free, confidential counseling, support, and education to women facing unplanned pregnancies.
In 2016, the Madison WCC served 525 women, said Hagie. “We focus on the women and their needs at the moment, whether it be housing, food, or finding health care. We find out what their roadblocks are and help them get over their hurdles.”
One of the services is providing free ultrasounds, which help pregnant women see their unborn baby. Hagie herself has a degree in radiography and is trained in providing first trimester ultrasounds. (Another WCC staff member can perform ultrasounds at any gestation.)
“It’s amazing to see how the women respond to the ultrasounds,” said Hagie. “I see the women’s faces. It’s a life-changer for many women when they see their little baby.”
The Women’s Care Center is now working with the national Knights of Columbus Ultrasound Initiative to raise half the cost of a new ultrasound machine. The Knights will match the amount raised.
“The new ultrasound machine is a 3D/4D machine and the difference is incredible,” said Greg Wagner, a local member of the Knights of Columbus who serves on the WCC board.
People interested in donating to the ultrasound project can send a check with the Ultrasound Initiative noted on the check. Donations are tax deductible. Send them to: Women’s Care Center, 3711 Orin Rd., Madison, WI 53704.
The Women’s Care Center also welcomes volunteers to assist with its work. “We have a wonderful group of volunteers,” said Hagie.
Some of them help with the WCC’s Crib Club, which provides such items as diapers, cribs, carseats, strollers, clothing, sippy cups, lotion, books, and blankets.
“We buy the carseats and cribs, but everything else is donated,” noted Hagie.
Volunteers help stock the Crib Club and come in, especially during classes, to help pregnant women select items. Volunteers also help with mailings.
Hagie said many of the WCC’s clients are referred by friends. Some are directed by “sidewalk counselors” outside the Planned Parenthood Clinic, which is located across the street from the Women’s Care Center.
“Some come in by mistake thinking we’re the Planned Parenthood Clinic. Fortunately, some of them choose to keep their babies instead of having an abortion.”
The Madison Women’s Care Center is one of a group of 24 similar centers located in eight states, including Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and of course, Wisconsin.
The WCC website (womenscarecenter.org) has information on all the centers in the country. All of them provide free, confidential services to pregnant women (and men, too).
To contact the Madison Women’s Care Center, call 608-241-8100. The center is open Monday, Tuesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Appointments are preferred, but walk-ins are welcome.
Hagie, who has been the WCC director for almost two years, said she loves her work. “I have never been happier in a job,” she said. “I work with the most amazing women.”
And she is excited to welcome the 155 babies who will soon make their appearance in the world.