Andelman Family Stays Close for 128-Night NICU Stay
"It was a family we did not know we had."
Griffin was born in August to proud parents Alex and Calah. She immediately adopted the name “Griffin the Great”, 81 days before her due date.
At 29 weeks, Calah was readmitted to the hospital a second time for a severe migraine. Two days later, at 8:30 am the medical team prepared the first-time parents for their delivery.
“knowing we were going to have a 2lb baby was incredibly scary.”- Calah Andelman
Calah remained admitted as a patient for a full 24 hours of monitoring. With her room, one floor from the NICU, Alex began balancing going back and forth to remain close to his family.
“Before we were about to get our room here [at the Ronald McDonald House] I almost wouldn’t allow myself, and this is hard to say because this is a hard feeling, but I almost wouldn’t allow myself to fall in love with her because I wasn’t close.”
After being discharged, Calah worried about how long it would be until their family returned home together and how she would maintain a 30-minute commute to the hospital as a new nursing mother. Until they learned about The Ronald McDonald House.
“It was a long rough road. We were in the NICU for 128 days, which is a really long time. But it was lovely to have a place for me – to stay for that 4 months to be able to be close to her.”
As the family approached Griffin’s due date at the end of October, Alex and Calah were headed to Little Rock, AR for immediate surgery to close Griffin’s PDA heart valve. The Andelmans stayed in Little Rock for seven weeks, a lot longer than expected with hopes to make it home before Christmas. Then finally, the last week of Griffin’s hospital stay arrived and the family returned to the Ronald McDonald House in Fayetteville, AR for their last few nights.
“Right after being discharged, I called to let the staff know we were on our way ‘home’ and it was music to my ears when they said we have your room all ready for you, we have your jacket, and we have your diet coke!”
“it’s never planned for, so none of us are prepared for it. So the fact that it was prepared for us, when we needed it, was such a blessing… I don’t know where we would be without the Ronald McDonald House. It kept our family together for the 4 months we needed to be together.”
Three days before Christmas, the family’s dreams came true as “Griffin the Great” became a NICU graduate, and was discharged from the hospital.
“The community of the staff was necessary. We did not have the access to our family and friends…It was a family that we did not know we had”
Thank you, Calah, Alex, and Griffin for sharing your story!