Linda DeLeonardis and Juliet Agustin

Sarah Pacheco
Wednesday - December 31, 2008
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The new year means celebrating new life for many families across Oahu. Mothers- and fathers-to-be will spend the first months of 2009 in the doctor’s office watching their children grow and change on a sonogram machine.

But for some couples, being together during this time is not an option.

“So many moms are here without family,” laments Linda Kamakaokalani DeLeonardis (pictured at right), a registered nurse at First Look Sonogram Hawaii. “When so many moms came to us because their husbands were deployed, we heard many sad stories and dried many tears. One girl broke our heart when she said, ‘At least he will see our baby, even if the worst happens and he doesn’t come home.’

“I was in the military during Vietnam and was an Army wife, so I understand how hard it is on moms who have husbands who are deployed.”

Two years ago DeLeonardis, who specializes in labor and delivery, and is a former sonogram tech, decided to work out a way to bring deployed dads-to-be a Christmas gift of a lifetime: those first-time baby photos by way of 3D/4D images set on a CD-ROM. They wound up giving away more than $14,000 worth of free scans to military families, and this year DeLeonardis, sonographer Juliet Agustin (above, left) and all the other merry workers at First Look would be more than happy to see that number grow.

“We are having hard times like everyone else in this recession, but sometimes it’s not all about the money,” DeLeonardis says.

She and Agustin are accredited by the Better Business Bureau of Hawaii and are members of the Association of Accredited Ultrasound Imaging Facilities. This means they make sure to follow very strict guidelines to ensure the safety of both baby and mom, something DeLeonardis stresses parents should look for when getting an ultrasound. “One requirement is that we must use an FDA-approved machine ... Check out where you go to have an ultrasound. Ask questions.”

DeLeonardis has worked as an RN at places such as Kahuku Hospital and Castle Medical Center ever since graduating from nursing school in 1983. Agustin is a graduate of the Newbridge College school of sonography in California.

“For 2009, we are looking forward to all families to be reunited. We would like to challenge small businesses all over Hawaii to do something very meaningful for the community also,” DeLeonardis says.

To obtain a free CD, mothers are invited to stop by First Look Sonogram Hawaii at 98-1247 Kaahumanu St. in Aiea anytime now through Jan. 31. Coming soon will be a simulcast so family members can log on to their computers and be “present” during ultrasounds. For more information, call 486-8439. - Sarah Pacheco

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