Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Why I Chose to Run For Charity

As of you may know, I am running the Princess Glass Slipper Challenge at Walt Disney World in February of 2016. I chose to run for a charity this year, which includes a minimum fundraising goal to participate in the race. Making a decision to not only raise a hefty sum of money, but to also sign up to run 6.2 miles on a Saturday and then 13.1 miles on Sunday can make anyone question their sanity. However, I feel compelled to share why I was drawn to the particular charity of my choice, Children's Miracle Network.

Anyone I've known for longer than 8 years probably knows my reasoning - my oldest daughter. She was born at 35 weeks, so considered to be a "preemie" by most standards, as 37 weeks is full term. She came into this world with the appearance of a healthy newborn -- screaming, good color and a decent weight for a preemie: 5lbs, 6oz. However, once we got into feeding, the nurses noticed some issues. They got my ok to try some formula, but we noticed after every feeding, no matter how small, she was spitting up a green, bile-colored fluid. So after some x-rays and communication with the local children's hospital, it was decided she might have an obstruction and was transferred by ambulance to Winnie Palmer Hospital, which is 45 minutes away. I still remember those EMT's having to pack my baby up in the incubator & call my doctor in the middle of the night to get permission to release me from the hospital so my husband and I could meet them down there. This all happened in less than 24 hours after birth. Once we got to Winnie Palmer, we meet the neonatal doctor on duty, and were pretty much suggested we go home and get some sleep, as nothing would be decided until the morning.

Go home and sleep, and leave my 1st born, brand new baby somewhere else???


But, these guys went to school for this and know more than my sleep-deprived self did, so home we went. Once we got there the next morning, the nurse and doctor on duty talked to us and let us know there was an obstruction, and they had her scheduled for surgery that afternoon. We had to sign forms for things like anesthesia and then sit in the waiting room at the adjoining hospital, Arnold Palmer Hospital, where the surgery was taking place. When they were done, Dr. David Miller, the pediatric surgeon talked to us about what he had to do. She had a duodenal atresia, which means her intestines weren't connected to her stomach. Poor thing was eating, but once it got to the bottom of her intestines, it had nowhere to go but up! He had to taper her intestines, reattach them to her stomach, then check to make sure there weren't any tears that would cause obstructions once they closed everything back up. They had to remove some of her intestines, because they had died due to lack of blood. Her appendix was also removed because in a tiny body like that with a major operation, it was just getting in the way! Once she got back to Winnie Palmer, she had to stay in the hospital until they could feed her actual milk (rather than IV fluids) and she had to have a bowel movement to be discharged. She got to spend time under the lights for jaundice, be poked and prodded for veins to put IV's in, and room with about 5 other babies. After about 2 weeks she got to move to the "easy" NICU room, where she was in a bassinet instead of an incubator & it was a lot quieter with less machines. We visited her every day, and celebrated her first Christmas at Winnie Palmer. I still have the tiny red hat a volunteer had crocheted. We learned to get our rest while we could, and I joked that we were paying for the best babysitters in the business. ;) (not that I think nurses are babysitters, just that if someone was going to watch my kid, I had the most qualified person taking care of her!!)

Finally, 3 weeks later she got to come home. We spent a lot of time in the first 6 months at Dr. appointments, but she is now a happy and healthy 8 year old girl! I remember how scary being a new parent was, much less spending the first 3 weeks of that time in the neonatal intensive care unit. Arnold Palmer is a Children's Miracle Network Hospital, and I am so thankful to have one nearby. The employees of that hospital are amazing. The kids that have to spend time there, need to get the chance to be kids. Children's Miracle Network helps with that, whether it be so mom and dad have a little less to stress about so there is time for one more story, or fun things that make a hospital seem a little more like "home away from home."

I want to support those families in their time of need, so I am running to help. Please consider donating to my fundraiser, so we can all help kids grow up happily ever after.

Please consider clicking below to donate!!