It is hard to believe that it has been over 7 years since our first visit to a Children's Miracle Network Hospital. After having my first child, we were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving when we got the call.
They needed us to take our newborn up to Doernbecher Hospital, 3 hours away, for more testing. Some of his newborn test results didn't look good.
That call came out of the blue. Though I knew of the Children's Hospital, I had never been there. I didn't even know anyone who had needed to go there. I was in shock, frightened and full of so many questions as to why my healthy looking baby needed to be seen immediately.
You could say the bottom dropped out of our reality.
All that initial uncertainty and fear melted away once we arrived at the hospital. It was no uneventful trip either, it is no small feat traveling for 6 hours total with a newborn.
The atmosphere was child-friendly, the staff was helpful and welcoming and we were introduced to a new normal for us.
My son was diagnosed with PKU (Phenylketonuria) as an infant. It is a metabolic condition caught after delivery when they perform the heel sticks in the hospital. We learned that my son was lacking an enzyme to break down phenylalanine in his blood. Without treatment, it can lead to dramatic and irrevocable brain damage, but with proper dietary therapy and regular blood tests he can lead a long and active life.
For the first year of Owen's life, we made the trek up to the children's hospital once a month so they could closely monitor his blood/phe levels and make sure he was developing normally. With the help of Owen's team, he hit his milestones early and we learned how to raise a child with PKU.
The doctors, dieticians and specialists we have met since that first visit have helped our son to meet his potential. We were taught how to count his exchanges and what foods and in what quantities he can enjoy. He also has a doctor prescribed medical beverage for his phenylalanine-free protein and other nutrients he lacks because he can't eat meat, dairy, nuts, most grains and legumes.
Our regular visits just became part of our new "normal" and our Doernbecher visits became a family event with the help of grandparents
Okay, not all fun... they did include necessary blood draws, but the phlebotomists there are the best and always had a stash of stuffed toys and other diversions to help kids with their fears.
So, when my daughter was born, 2 years later and was diagnosed with the same medical condition, there was no fear. We knew our Children's Miracle Network Hospital would take good care of the entire family and that she would be getting the best of care.
My kids looked forward to their visits, the waiting room which had lots of toys, books and saltwater fish tanks. They also enjoyed meeting other children there at the hospital.
Doernbecher Children's Hospital, our Children's Miracle Network Hospital here in Oregon is a big part of our life, and due to my children's ongoing condition, will be a part of our lives for life. I am so grateful for what these hospitals do to help families through the tough diagnosis period and all the questions that come with lifestyle changes.
But, my children are flourishing, and it would have never happened without the help from The Children's Miracle Network and the support they receive to help families like ours.
And along the way we have met so many others who have received help at Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, so many other children who received answers and the care they needed there. My husband and I always tell people that is where you can find answers and help. They take care of not just the kids and patients, but the whole family.
Did you know that one in 10 kids in North America is treated by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals each year?
Check out this infographic about why Children's Miracle Network Hospitals need our support:
The truth is, it is hard to know just when a child you know and love might need lifesaving treatment or a procedure at a Children's Miracle Network Hospital. The numbers above are eye-opening.
Luckily, Walmart and Pampers are donating $200,000 to CMNH in June of 2015! That is so exciting! Also, you can get in on the giving by purchasing Pamper's Swaddlers at your local Walmart. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
U.S. members hospitals provided $3.4 billion in charity care in 2012, so I am sure there is always a need for donations. You can visit Walmart.com/cmnh for more information and to make your own donation.
Do you have a personal story to share about how with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has touched your life? Or do you know of someone who has been helped by the hospitals?
I have one (1) $25 Walmart Gift Card to give away to one lucky commenter here.
Share your story in the comments below. Or help spread the word about Pampers, Walmart, and the Children's Miracle Network and this current promotion. You can do both for 2 entries! Leave a comment for each entry (up to 2 entries per person).
Giveaway ends 7/1 at midnight PST. Must be 18 or older to enter, US residents only. The gift card will be mailed directly to the winner. Make sure your email address is in your profile so I can reach you.