Fireworks – The Hilliard Elmer Family

The fireworks started earlier than expected on July 4, 2018 for Kendra and Tom Elmer. Kendra started having contractions and her water broke at just 23 weeks into her pregnancy. She was transported via ambulance from Fremont to Grand Rapids to be placed on monitored bed rest. Her contractions could not be stopped, and baby Blake was born on July 9th at just 1lb. 8oz.

Kendra was released from the hospital three days later, but she and Tom knew Blake would need to stay at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for many months to grow stronger. The Elmers had no place to stay in Grand Rapids – an extended stay at a hotel was too expensive. They drove back and forth from Fremont, MI every day for two weeks to be with Blake until they received a phone call that a room at the Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan (RMHWM) was available. Kendra states, “RMHWM has been a HUGE blessing for us. It has made it possible for my husband and I to go to work (him in Fremont and me in Muskegon) and still be able to see our son every day! It is wonderful to see Blake every morning before work and at night when we return. The RMHWM keeps us close.”

Kendra and Tom had hoped to take Blake home at the end of October, around the time of his due date. Now, over 120 days into their journey, they expect to spend the holidays at the House with Blake’s release date pushed into the new year. Blake is now 7lb. 8oz. He is still in the NICU, fighting to get off the ventilator and breathe on his own. This week he will undergo surgery for a tracheotomy and G-tube. The Elmers are thankful to be at the House together and minutes away from Blake. “It gives us peace of mind knowing that we are close to the hospital and that we can be involved in his care every day.”