The Morton High School boys’ basketball team and Coach Matt Franks are hosting the 6th annual Gameball Run event to raise money and awareness for Children’s Hospital of Illinois. Each school in District 709 has selected a Miracle Family to represent the services provided by Children’s Hospital and the impact it has on Morton families. To financially support Gameball Run, donate online at www.MortonGameballRun.org. Each school is hosting events, with all proceeds going to Children’s Hospital of Illinois.
The Miracle Family representing Grundy Elementary School is the White family — Terry, Melissa, Bryant, and Collins White. This is their story.
Collins and Bryant White were born 8 weeks early at 32 weeks and 2 days. Terry (dad) was working out of town at the time and arrived at OSF Hospital just in time to see them enter the world. Collins was born first at 12:44 a.m. at 3 pounds 14 ounces and 16 ½ inches long. She was not breathing when she was born so she was rushed into the other room where the respiratory therapists were located to get her lungs functioning. Bryant was breach, so the nurses and doctors had to work on Melissa’s belly to get him to turn. He was born 40 minutes later at 1:24 a.m. weighing 4 pounds 9 ounces and 18 inches long.
“Not being able to keep my children with me after they were born was hard,” said Melissa White. “I felt as though I didn’t do my job to bring them into the world healthy, happy and safe.”
Bryant and Collins were taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Children’s Hospital of Illinois where they could receive the best care.
“We had a great team of talented, devoted, and caring doctors and nurses helping us to get our children well enough to take home,” said Melissa.
Dr. Macwan reported that Collins and Bryant would be fine, they just needed to grow.
“It was extremely scary not knowing if that was true seeing all the equipment and wires that the babies were connected to,” said Melissa.
Bryant did not have many issues in the NICU. He only needed time to get bigger and was able to return home May 1st, after 26 days in the NICU.
Collins had a rougher start. She had trouble eating, oxygen desaturations, and drops in her heart rate. Her nurse Natalie suggested she may have acid reflux causing all her issues. Several adjustments were made to help Collins eat better and she was finally able to come home after 45 days in the NICU.
Collins returned home on acid reflux medication, thickened formula, and a heart monitor. She continued to struggle to eat at home. Melissa’s mom, Terry, and Melissa developed different strategies to get Collins to eat. Unfortunately, Collins dictated the family’s routine at home because of her eating issues. Bryant had to eat whenever Collins was ready to eat. Luckily, Bryant was very easy going and had no problems with that.
“The heart monitor made it hard to go places with all the cords but we managed a few outings,” said Melissa. Collins finally came off the heart monitor June 29th, when she was almost 3 months old.
“We were very fortunate that Collins came home my mom’s last day of school,” said Melissa. “My mom was a school teacher so she was able to spend the entire summer with us that year.” When Collins came home, Melissa had three weeks of maternity leave left. Melissa and her mom spent that three weeks figuring out a new routine at home. When the new school year started, Collins and Bryant started full-time daycare. They did great and have been growing nonstop ever since. This year they are kindergarteners at Grundy Elementary School.
“We are so thankful for the NICU doctors and nurses that worked so hard to get us all home together,” said Melissa. “Having my husband back to work, one baby at home while the other baby was still struggling in the hospital was a very trying time.”
“We made it through with the help of the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. We are sincerely grateful for their help to give our children the best start in life that we could have hoped for.”