Hope Arrives After Deadly Fires

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Two Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa nurses lost their home to wildfire, then welcomed a new baby and an unexpected gift.

When the devastating Tubbs Fire first erupted, Benjamin Huggins, RN, looked out the window of the Intensive Care Unit of Kaiser Permanente’s Santa Rosa Medical Center and worried about his wife who was home nearby, 9 months pregnant with their first child.

The orange flames lit up the dark sky before dawn on Oct. 9. And they were getting brighter, closer, and bigger.

At Benjamin’s urging, his wife Macy Huggins, RN, a Kaiser Permanente pediatric nurse, left their house an hour before it burned down and evacuated to a friend’s home in Petaluma. Benjamin, meanwhile, continued to care for his critically ill patient until the man was safely placed into an ambulance and transferred to another hospital out of harm’s way.

It was time to refocus their energy on the baby, who was already overdue by 2 days.

Hope Huggins

Hope Is Born

“The next day it kind of hit us,” Macy said. “Now we have nothing, and we’re bringing this baby into the world, and we had all this stuff that was going to be so perfect, and these ideas and perceptions about how it was going to be with her.”

With the Santa Rosa Medical Center closed due to fires burning in the area, the couple searched for a new Kaiser Permanente hospital for Macy to deliver their baby.

They chose the Kaiser Permanente Roseville Medical Center’s Women and Children’s Center because the air quality in the Sacramento Valley was more favorable than in the Bay Area.

And that’s where the baby, aptly named Hope, was born on Saturday, Oct. 14, weighing a healthy 8 lbs., 4 oz., and measuring 21.5 inches long.

What happened next was nothing short of amazing.

A Generous Gift

A couple of hours after Hope entered the world, another mother was giving birth a few rooms away. This mother had been certain her baby would be a girl — so the family had prepared an entire nursery for a daughter.

But the mom delivered a boy.

The mom laughed about her situation and asked 2 nurses, Carrie Jarvis, RN, and Stephanie Harriot, RN, if they had any idea what to do with so much girl clothing that their boy would never wear.

That’s when Assistant Nurse Manager Elana Brennan, RN, made the connection between the moms.

The next day, the family down the hall donated its entire collection of baby-girl clothes and toys to the Santa Rosa family that had lost everything in the fire.

“It was very touching and generous and overwhelming,” Macy said, while sitting on the hospital bed with Benjamin and Hope a day after giving birth.

Benjamin and Macy, who are saddened that co-workers also lost their homes and that dozens of people have died in several Northern California fires, don’t yet know where in the Santa Rosa area they will live.

For now, they’re staying with friends and dedicating their time to Hope.

“In the face of this tragedy, we’re now able to welcome this little baby into the world,” Benjamin said. “And that’s really all that matters to us now.” 

Stay tuned this week to receive opportunities and resources to help Kaiser Permanente colleagues such as the Huggins family who’ve lost their homes to the recent Northern California fires.

Discussion27 Comments

  1. At such a dark and uncertain time, Hope brought you light. Congrats on her arrival! All the best to you and your family.

  2. Congratulations and thank you for all that you do every day for Kaiser Permanente Nursing and our communities. I am so in awe and grateful. Hope will always provide special meaning to many.

    Linda Knodel

  3. Difficult road to a beautiful destination. I am so proud of you guys for naming her HOPE
    Hold
    On
    Pain
    End
    God has a good plan for you guys, a plan for good but not for evil. I am a mother of 3 girls; Mercy, Faith and Hope.

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this story! It shows that even when you are at your lowest there are others who care. You have a beautiful baby, and I wish you all the best with getting back on your feet and loving your new bundle of joy!!

  5. Charleen Jackson-Fleck

    What a beautiful story! I have tears. In the midst of all these disasters and loss, there is human kindness…and Hope!

  6. Many of use would like to offer items or shelter to those affected. Can you please let us know how we can do that, or how we can connect with KP employees who are displaced to see how we can help.

  7. Heather D'Eliso Gordon

    I would love to donate our crib if you need one. We live in SF and I work at the SF Facility.
    Glad you are safe,
    Heather

    • Heather, thank you for writing in with your generous offer. Please email Ben and Macy directly to make your offer. Once again, thank you.

  8. Wow! Amazing story, brought tears to my eyes! Congratulations on those precious bundles of joy. It goes to show what is really important in life. LIFE!!!

  9. That was a very touching story; a bittersweet moment. I am so glad that the Huggins family was safe and out of harm’s way. My blessing goes out to the family and their new baby Hope.

  10. This was the most beautiful story I have ever read. My heart also goes out to those who lost their lives and/or their homes. Baby Hope gives us all hope for tomorrow. Blessings to her parents and to the family who donated to Baby Hope!

  11. Love this, made my day! Hope is a perfect name for this beautiful baby girl. Best wishes to the new family and may they find a permanent home soon. A big thank you to the family who donated their baby girl clothes and toys. What a beautiful gift at such a stressful time for the family who had just lost their home.

  12. All providence. I have chills. Nothing is “coincidence.” Beautiful share. Blessings to both of these families!

  13. Christina Tofaeono

    WOW!! This made my eyes leak… So sorry for the loss of their home but what an absolute blessing for them to have such a beautiful baby girl, and then be given a beautiful gift from the other family. May God Bless and strengthen them for their future. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Wai Yu (Winnie) Leung

    I love this story. Thank you Kaiser for sharing. Stories like these make it more bearable for the people who are still going through this unfortunate tragedy.

  15. Two Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa nurses lost their home to wildfire, then welcomed a new baby and an unexpected gift. This story is so touching, I was in tears reading it. There is healing in knowing people still care and there is light at the end of the “dark” tunnel.

  16. So wonderful to see the human kindness that comes in the face of such tragedies. Welcome to the world Hope, you give us all just that!

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