As a mother of seven (her eighth – a boy – is on the way), Lottie Hilgefort, of Anderson Township, operates at two settings: loud and louder.
“We’re a party wherever we go,” she laughs.
Yet despite her smile and infectious, warm personality, she’s had her share of hardship.
In 2000, Lottie and her husband, Tate, who met shortly after graduating college, got married – both thrilled to start a family together. After struggling with infertility for more than a year, they conceived their first child; however, they learned God had other plans, Lottie says. Her first pregnancy resulted in miscarriage.
Lottie and Tate Were Determined to be Parents
Lottie and Tate, determined to be parents, took another route in 2003: they adopted. Their first baby was Andrew, now 11.
The following two years were a whirlwind as they adopted two more children, Cecelia, now 10, and Gianna, now 9 – both born at Good Samaritan Hospital. While Lottie didn’t physically go through the birthing experience, she says her involvement with the maternity team – both the obstetrician and nurses – was nothing short of wonderful. “All of the staff was respectful of our privacy and that of the birthmother. It’s a difficult time for the birthparents and adoptive parents, so that extra layer of respect and kindness was greatly appreciated,” Lottie explains.
An Unexpected Twist
Then, in 2007, came an unexpected turn. Lottie felt nauseated and noticed her menstrual cycle was off. Skeptical, she took an at-home pregnancy test; the test was positive. “He (Joseph) was a complete surprise! I called Tate and we laughed on the phone,” she recalls. “We were actually about to adopt again!”
Based on their experience at the hospital when Cecelia and Gianna were born, Lottie and Tate’s choice for maternity care was simple; they picked Good Samaritan. Additionally, Lottie’s pregnancy was considered high-risk, so she wanted a hospital with a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
While Lottie was thrilled to be pregnant again, she was anxious, too, wondering: What’s my risk of miscarriage? Will my baby go into the NICU? How will my body handle pregnancy?
Her obstetrician, Kristin Coppage MD, of Tri-State Maternal-Fetal Medicine Associates, eased Lottie’s concerns – and lent an empathetic ear. Like Lottie, Dr. Coppage is an adoptive mother, and she’s conceived.
Fortunately, Lottie’s pregnancy went smoothly, and her continued exceptional experience at Good Samaritan is what keeps her coming back. “People really take the time to get to know me. They ask how my children are doing. They ask how I’m doing. They care about who I am … I feel like I’m part of the family,” she explains.
Looking Ahead: Lottie Expects her Family to Grow
Since the birth of Joseph, Lottie’s been pregnant four more times. Every time, she felt unwavering confidence that she was in capable hands, which is why now, pregnant for the fifth time – more than a decade later – she’s gone back to Good Samaritan for maternity care. “To have that piece of mind, no matter what’s going on, you can’t put a price on that,” she explains.
Her eighth child, James Michael, is due in March, just in time for March Madness. He’ll be watching basketball as soon as he’s born, Lottie jokes. Like the rest of her kids, who play sports at Guardian Angels School (they’re homeschooled, however), she thinks James will be an athlete, too. (See a photo of James below.)
In the meantime, Lottie and Tate don’t anticipate life slowing down anytime soon. “I hope to have several more years coming back (to Good Samaritan),” she adds.
Story Update: James (pictured below), who Lottie's family refers to as "Sweet Baby James," was born on March 25. "James was my easiest delivery and recovery so far. He's been a wonderful, happy baby," Lottie says.