Mission Accomplished – August!
Ellie was having a typical twin pregnancy. Everything was going well- she was healthy and so were they. At 30 weeks, though, she suddenly went into labor and despite hospital efforts to stop it, her twins arrived 10 weeks early and needed to spend 6 weeks in the NICU.
“We chose to deliver at St. Mary’s because its a fantastic hospital but it was over an hour away from our home. After the twins were born, we went home, but they stayed, and stayed, and stayed. Every day we made the hour drive to the hospital to talk with their doctors, sit and hold them, feed them, bathe them, and begin bonding with them.”
The travel began to take its toll on the family. With 6 other children to care for, Ellie and her husband found themselves stretched very thin. RMHC of Richmond volunteers came by regularly with the Happy Wheels cart to keep their other children entertained with an activity or snack. Mom and dad were able to grab a sandwich or snack in the RMHC of Richmond family room thanks to the Lunches with Love program so that the bulk of their time (and resources) could be for their NICU babies.
“I was having a particularly hard time one day at the NICU. No one came with me on this day and the emotions of what had happened and what was going to happen were overwhelming. Their alarms were going off and the nursing staff kept coming over to me and adjusting the babies. I couldn’t hold my son that day. The emotions were overwhelming. But a volunteer came with the [Happy Wheels Cart] and the nurse suggested I just take a break. I went into the hallway to grab a soda and with tears in my eyes, the volunteer hugged me. She asked if I was okay and I nodded (although secretly I was not, and I can imagine she knew that too). She said to me, that “It does not matter how slowly they grow, as long as they do not stop”. She probably didn’t know how much that meant to me at the time but its what I needed to hear.“
She went back and talked to the nurse in the NICU and told her what the volunteer had said and the nurse agreed that it was very fitting. Ellie came to the NICU the next day and found that the nurse had written that quote and others on index cards for her. When she took pictures of her twins for Easter, she decided that quote should go on the photo.
“It really isn’t a great picture, but the meaning behind it will always mean a great deal to me. I needed someone that day. And that person came as a volunteer, with a can of soda. It meant the world to me.”
Ellie’s twins are out of the NICU and haven’t stopped growing, slowly but surely!