Friday, December 23, 2011

Guess who is 3 months old today?

I'm unsure of how that much time passed by already. I think it had something to do with me having surgery (I had my gallbladder removed 2 weeks after she was born, 1st ride in an ambulance and a wonderful 4 day hospital stay), then Mallory spending almost 1/2 this month at Helen Devos.

It's hard to believe she is 3 months old still. It may also have something to do with the fact that still eats and sleeps like a newborn that's got me thinking she still is one. I will tell you one thing she is a VERY strong girl, she holds her head up like a champ (and thats pretty impressive when you have a head in the 97th percentile! Not ashamed to admit my girls have some big noggins), she NEVER stops moving and she knows what she wants.

I had preterm contractions with her for almost 10 weeks, they never really dilated my cervix though but I was still placed on bed rest to prevent that. So the month of August wasn't much fun! She was due on September 27th, 2011 (Also her Uncle Robb's birthday) and I had my last doctors apt was on September 22nd. I went into labor that night (My girls are very thoughtful when it comes to NOT being overdue). I never had regular contractions when I went into labor, 10 minutes, then 4, then 7, and so on and so forth, I paced my house for 7 HOURS before deciding to head up to the hospital. One thing my girls aren't so great at is making a fast appearance, 17 hours of labor with Miss Mallory and she was finally born on September 23rd @ 4:10pm. (and YES I totally had an epidural, when I was told I was being admitted I told them to get the anesthesiologist ASAP!). She was a PERFECT 7lbs 10 ounces, 20 inches long. Round chubby cheeks that were and still are ooooo sooooo kisssable :-) I promise not to post my labor story again till she's 1 hehehehe!

We are going HOME today! YIPPIE!!!! They are doing a blood transfusion this morning, her hemoglobin is at 8.5 and they usually do transfusions at 8 but her next clinic apt isn't till next Thursday so they just want to perk her up before then so she eats better. Babies who are anemic tend to be lazy eaters (which could be another reason why she doesn't eat very well anyways). So transfusion, pick up prescriptions and get out of here!

I was also informed that we do NOT have to do shots on her at home (these shots would have been to raise her white blood count). I was so nervous about this, I would totally do them if I had to but I am thankful that we don't. If she was 2 months or younger we would have had to but we escaped that by the hair on our chinny chin chin. HAPPY 3 MONTHS SWEET GIRL! You don't have to have daily shots!!!

One big bummer about Chemo is house arrest. We will not be enjoying any Christmas parties this year, no shopping trips, and pretty much staying inside for majority of the winter. Thanks to the many illnesses that strike during this time of year. We are being extra cautious of her right now, her blood counts have not dropped yet but will be on a steady decline the next 2 weeks and we will not be taking any chances of her getting sick. So I am really bummed to miss out on our families gift exchange and not seeing all of our adorable nieces and nephews opening all the AWESOME things we got for them (yep I rock at gifts!) but I know they are thinking of us and Miss Mallory and will totally understand why we can't be there this year.

So Ryan is dropping off all of there presents to them, picking up a Pizza on his way home, and I will be lighting a bunch of candles like we do every year at his parents on Christmas Eve so we can still keep up the tradition even though we can't be there.

Christmas day will be totally full of snuggles, Christmas music, and playing. We're gonna make the best of it even though we can't be a part of my family's party. So Christmas this year is going to be different but it definitely will be memorable.

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL Christmas.


Helen DeVos Children's Hospital (HDVCH) is really quite amazing.

It isn't the fact that the hospital is one of the leading pediatric centers in the nation that makes this place amazing, but it certainly helps.

It's oval-shaped, all-glass-exterior, 14 story building in the heart of downtown Grand Rapids Michigan is a breathtaking piece of architectural genius, but that isn't what makes this place amazing either.

It isn't the fact that the hospital's hematology, oncology and bone marrow transplant program received the American Society of Clinical Oncology Award for the program's work to improve cancer care through clinical research (one of eight hospitals in the U.S. to receive this recognition), but that is also very impressive too.

Above all else, it is the people here that make this hospital what it is. We have met dozens of consummate professionals, all of whom walk around with a sense of mission- a sense of a higher purpose. There is a buzz in the air, and people are excited to watch cutting edge pediatric medicine in action. The hospital is yet to turn a year old, and it is impossible not to feel like a pioneer at this place because everyone around you is so eager to perform the mission.

Take, for example, one of our oncology nurses. She has been an amazing blend of professionalism and empathy through many of our nights here at the hospital. Tonight she shared a powerful story with us: her own cancer survival story. What an amazing gift to this hospital, to have an oncology nurse who is ironically a cancer survivor herself. She shared her story, and could relate to what our Mallory must be going through. She is quite possibly the one person that can most effectively empathize with what Ashley and I are feeling, and the ride that Mallory is taking. This means the world to us, knowing that our care providers can directly relate to our situation from every angle.

There are amazing people on every level. The cleaning staff, the doctors, the security guards, the nurses, the people in the gift shop and cafeterias- all amazing. I would like to shake the HR director's hand, they have managed to put aces in all the right places.

Amazing goes all the way to the top. On Wednesday night, we narrowly missed meeting the hospital's namesake, Helen DeVos herself (we were getting admitted to the hospital at that time, and the scheduling just wasn't there).

I applaud philanthropic efforts of all sizes, but Helen DeVos and her family given gigantic support to this region and this hospital. Helen DeVos didn't just donate a pile of money just to get her name in 20 foot tall illuminated letters overlooking Grand Rapids. She could have accomplished that using a much cheaper route.

She did it because she is amazing. She cares about these kids, and about the mission. She cares so much that she threw a private Christmas party for the kids in the hospital. She handed out *very* nice gift bags to each kid, laughed and cried with the families, read some stories and made sure everyone was having the best Christmas possible.

West Michigan is blessed to have such a fine establishment. I hope none of you ever need to go to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, but if you do, you will agree with me:

This place is amazing.