Thursday, November 20, 2014 12:00 AM

Bundles of joy for dairy family and NICU

Kelsey Leyendekker never wanted to be anything but a neonatal intensive care (NICU) nurse taking care of the tiniest, most fragile newborns. She felt blessed to get into neonatologist Krishna Rajani’s “NICU University” at Community Regional Medical Center right after nursing school and receive financial help for the new graduates’ training from Community. And then Leyendekker was hired into her dream job at the hospital’s 84-bed NICU.

Three years later, her NICU training and experience prepared her for her next great job – being mom to triplFred and Kelsey Leyendekker are thrilled with the progress their triplets – Clay, Aaron and Jackson – are making in Community Regional’s NICU.ets born 7 weeks early.

Kelsey’s parents, Bernard and Becky Te Velde, were so grateful for Community’s care of their oldest child and three new grandsons they’ve given $250,000 to support the NICU at the downtown Fresno hospital. “A lot of people look at Stanford and other places, but we were really impressed being here to see the level of aptitude and what the doctors and nurses are doing,” said Bernard, a Hanford dairy and almond farmer. “I think to have a healthy local city you need good schools and good hospitals.”

Bernard was particularly pleased to see the commitment Community has made to developing and encouraging nurses: “It’s hard to get your first job and gain experience and the scholarship really helped get her foot in the door. Kelsey loves her job. She loves the family atmosphere it promotes, some of her best friends are her co-workers.”

Leyendekker and her husband Fred Leyendekker turned to Community’s expertise and invitro-fertilization at the Clovis Community Medical Center Fertility Center when they had trouble conceiving. Dr. Michael Synn delivered the news to the couple about their triple blessing.

 “Fred really wanted twins, but I just wanted a baby,” Leyendekker said, adding that she knew there was a good chance of twins because two embryos were implanted. “Clay is the one who behaved and stayed by himself. Aaron and Jackson are identical. They’re the ones that split and wanted to give mom a heart attack,” she joked.

Leyendekker’s pregnancy was fairly uneventful for triplets, but she said mentally and emotionally it wasn’t as easy. “I was a disaster, but I’m a NICU nurse so I know everything that could go wrong with multiples,” she explains.

While her obstetrician and husband were encouraging her to hang in and try for longer, Leyendekker was anxious to have her boys in her arms and in the care of her colleagues in the NICU. “In my brain I knew what 30 weeks would look like and that chances of survival were really good. I didn’t know what they were doing inside. Having them out and in this setting … I felt I had control of the situation better.”

Just a day short of 31 weeks she went into labor and the boys were delivered at Community Regional. Leyendekker never considered going anywhere else. Jackson and Aaron were born weighing a little over 3 lbs. each and were able to breathe on their own. Clay was a half-pound smaller than his brothers and needed breathing help. “I was able to hold my babies the day after they were born …This is a really special place,” said Leyendekker. 




Erin Kennedy and Shannon Merritt reported this story. Reach them at