Meet the Grzanka’s

Hi We are the Grzanka’s,

On October 22nd I received a call at work that was a surprise to me and my family. Unbeknown to us, my wife’s water had broken and had been broken for 24 hours without us having a clue. We also realized it was 5 weeks early. Being residents of the small-town Edenton, we went to our local Vidant hospital and we were quickly transported to James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital. Once there it was determined that there were concerns of underdeveloped lungs as well as other preemie concerns.

Liam Malloy Grzanka joined us 12 hours later. There were many medical team members and a NICU team on hand prepared for anything and that gave us a sense of comfort. When he cried you could feel the room decompress and that was a great sign. We would spend the next 8 days in the NICU. My wife decided in our birthing plan to exclusively breast feed which was important to both of us. By day 2 we knew we weren’t going home anytime soon and the anxiety and stress of what are we going to do now started setting in. We knew that leaving Liam wasn’t an option. We were approached by a counselor at the hospital about The Ronald McDonald House and up to this point we weren’t sure exactly what the program or organization was but we were definitely open to enrolling in hopes of getting accepted.

A Few hours later we learned we were accepted and the biggest blessing was that we were able to stay right outside the NICU within 200 steps of Liam. This was such a God send because one, my wife didn’t want to leave him and two, Liam was also feeding every two hours. We went and checked in and learned just how great the program is. It covered everything that you don’t really think about when you are whisked away in an emergent situation and in our case, miles away from home. In the midst of processing what your current reality is, you don’t realize what you forget to pack (like clothes lol).

Over the next week Liam was treated for jaundice and they evaluated him, his weight, and development.  Then the time came when we were discharged to go home. We felt extremely blessed to have found out and get enrolled into The Ronald McDonald House and all of the kindness that they offered. But that was just the beginning we came to find out.

Approximately a month later we noticed Liam was sleeping more than normal and a slight fever has started. My wife and I knew something weren’t right and without hesitation he was rushed to our local hospital where his condition worsened and once again transferred to Greenville. Knowing the seriousness of the situation we reached out to the Ronald McDonald House while in route to the hospital. As I pulled into the parking lot, I received a call back from them saying we were once again approved for a room at the newly renovated house. It was a huge relief knowing once again it was one less stressor we didn’t have to worry about.

Watching a slight fever turn in to visuals we would rather not share in such a short amount of time gave us an incredible sense of helplessness. Not knowing and consistently asking what’s wrong and not receiving answers as quickly as all concerned parents would like left us beside our self. After a few days we’re learned Liam had viral meningitis. The road that lie ahead for him and us as a family was an immediate 21 day stay in PEDS. We immediately contacted the Ronald McDonald House to update them on the situation and without hesitation they responded with “no problem we’re here as long as you need us”.

Over the next 3 weeks it was about as stressful as it gets. This stressful situation would break most people down and in time it would build you back up even stronger. Our Liam is the real fighter, I call him my little ox. During those 3 weeks we were able to keep our family together and even had mother and grandmother able to occasionally be there for support. I eventually had to return to work and I commuted back and forth.

The Ronald McDonald House was there to not only keep us together but provided an exceptional facility, a nice place to sleep, kept warm food in our stomachs, a hot shower, laundry services and most importantly a place to take a minute and try to process everything, even if it was for just for a minute.

The Ronald McDonald House gave us a peace in a situation that no parent should go through. It was a small comfort of home that helped us remain strong. The staff, the facility and the kindness that was shown to us is one that can never be repaid. This is a program I will always back and provide donations, as well as hold personally close to my heart. I truly believe this program and its benefits contributed to our son being home and healthy by keeping us together…