We welcomed our little peanut, Charleigh James Franks, into the world on Saturday, August 24th. She was born at 35 weeks and 5 days at 3 lbs. 6 oz. Throughout the pregnancy, we were driving an hour and a half both directions to attend appointments at Maternal Fetal Medicine at Spectrum Health twice a week due to my high-risk pregnancy. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and high blood pressure. Plus, little Miss Charleigh was simply not growing. We had a very traumatic labor and delivery after being relocated to Grand Rapids. We spent 36 days at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in the NICU because Charleigh was struggling with feeding and growing.
If a room at the Ronald McDonald House was not available, we would have camped out in the NICU. We wanted to spend as much time with our daughter as possible. We appreciated the private room with attached bathroom at the House. We needed our privacy. We needed our time to adjust to being new parents. We needed time to accept our situation. I was experiencing postpartum anxiety and depression from the labor and delivery. I literally felt like I was losing my mind and I was crying all the time. We appreciated the shuttle transportation to and from the hospital, especially since I was not able to drive for two weeks and Jay had to return to work. Hence, I had to take the shuttle on multiple occasions to and from the hospital. It was wonderful being able to return to the House and have a homemade meal – such a treat after spending such long days at the hospital.
When Jay returned to work, I would pack him a lunch of left-overs. Our original plan was for him to stay in Mecosta during the week and come stay with me on the weekends. Due to my poor mental health state, he ended up driving back and forth daily. We are grateful to the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan for supporting us during this very stressful time period. Since being discharged and returning home, Jay has continued teaching and coaching. Football season has ended however wrestling season is right around the corner. I have perfected the art of “pumping” while being a “working momma”. Charleigh is growing little by little. She is currently 6 lbs. 13 oz. She loves spending time with her “auntie granny” three days a week and making friends at daycare the other two days a week.
Karleigh Franks (mother)
Jay Franks (father)
Charleigh Franks (daughter)