Willow Stidham was one of 20 babies born at West Virginia’s Charleston Area Medical Center on April 7, 2020, according to her mother Brook. Willow is the third child to the Stidman family — now a family of five — and Medicaid provided health coverage for the pregnancy and baby, as Willow was automatically signed up for the program.
There were both pros and cons to having to give birth during the statewide lockdown for the COVID-19 pandemic. “I feel like it could have been better; the nurses were stressed and seemed on edge because of the virus,” said Brook. But she understood and acknowledged: “The experience was different.”
Brook works full time at a local credit union in the Charleston area and provides for her family as best she can with a 40-hour work week. For the family of five, Medicaid serves as a vital social support program. Especially as Brook’s husband, Daniel, studies to become a barber.
Not only did Medicaid cover the birth of Willow but it has also provided life-saving treatments for their child Brody, who has cystic fibrosis. From doctor’s and telemedicine visits to a vest, nebulizer, and nutritional supplements, Medicaid has helped the Stidham family stay healthy and prepare for their future financially.
When asked how much Brody’s treatments would cost without Medicaid Brook said: “I don’t have any idea but I’m sure I’d have a lot of bills.”
Brook and Daniel are looking for a new home to suit their family, but stayed at Brook’s mother’s home during the pandemic.
Now, as the country begins to open up post-COVID, stress has mounted for Brook. She’s caring for a newborn child and two young boys (one with cystic fibrosis), Daniel is studying for a profession as a barber, which is currently “closed,” and Brook herself is getting ready to go back to work.
“Right now I can keep [Brody] safe, but if they open up the country am I supposed to just keep him in the house?” Brook said.
The Stidham family is not alone in their struggles, as hundreds of West Virginia families rely on Medicaid to support them as they continue to do their best to raise their children in a healthy environment during these challenging times.
Thank you to our partners at West Virginians for Affordable Health Care.