Leaving Today

>> Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ok...well, the day is finally here for me to make the trip out to Florida to be with Claire and get ready for Mr. Max to get here!

Honestly, I am not really sure what I am feeling right now. There is a weird mix of excitement, nervousness, joy, and sheer terror inside me right now. I feel like a football player just waiting inside the tunnel right before the game. We are about to embark on this entirely new chapter in our lives and I couldn't be more ready. I just want to get this going so I can hold my son, change his diaper, give him a bottle, or just hear him cry. I know that these things are still a ways off, and we have a few hurdles to go through before we get there, but I just KNOW that it is going to be ok.

The doctors have told Claire that they will be performing a c-section on the 10th of August, most likely in the morning. I should be arriving in Gainesville on or about the 2nd of August so Claire and I will have a week or so to spend together before "go time." Please be praying for safe travels as I drive 2,016 miles from Chandler Arizona to the Ronald McDonald House.

Lastly, I just want to thank a few people before I go. First of all, I want to thank YOU, Claire. You have been a ROCK in all of this. You are passionate, dedicated, loving, and will be the PERFECT mother for our little troublemaker. God really went above and beyond with you. You are beautiful inside and out. I could not be luckier.

Thank you to our families. Griz, Sue, Rob, Pat, and all of our siblings. You have all been such a source of encouragement, prayer, and love for Claire and I though all of this. We would not be who we are without your guidance and love. Thank you all again for being there the night before Claire left last week. That meant a lot to us, and you will probably never understand how much we both needed that. You are all amazing!

Thank you to Devin Holmes. You have been my friend for years now, and I truly consider you to be my brother. Thank you for opening your home to me as I travel through Houston. Thank you for random phone calls to yell at me and talk with me about Claire. It is nice to have a guy friend my age that is already a dad, and can just be there to talk, listen, cry with, or even play video games with. You really are amazing bro, and I love you.

To all of our friends, THANK YOU. Your prayers, phone calls, e-mails, facebook messages, and gifts have been OVERWHELMING. Claire and I could not ask for a more solid support system and network of people that care so much. We appreciate every prayer and thought that you have given and will give our family through this!

Thank you to the Ronald McDonald house staff and everyone that is there right now. You have made Claire feel like she has a home even while she has no car, and no family there (outside of lunch with Gee Gee and Wilson today).

Lastly, I would like to thank the network of CDH families that have found us as they have followed our story so far. We have been so blessed by each and everyone of your stories and are TRULY praying for you. Shawn and Stephanie, we are SO excited for Kamryn and have cried MANY times with you as we read your story. We have been so encouraged as we watched your little girl fight and WIN. There are many more families with blogs that we follow it would take too long to name them all, and show our appreciation. It is amazing how technology has allowed us to care for, cry with, and pray for people we don't even KNOW. Your stories have touched us and we look forward to speaking with all of you more in the future.

On that last note, I would just like you all to be praying for Rob and Candice and their baby Jackson. There are some serious things going on right now, but if you would like to see a picture and read some of their story go to http://beal-jackson.blogspot.com/2009/07/jackson-has-arrived.html. They could really use your prayers and words of encouragement. Go on there and send them the same love that you have all shown us.

We love you all so much!

Until I get to Florida,


My address here

>> Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hey all, I've had a few mailing address requests:

Claire (and/or Jordan) Griffin
1600 SW 14th St. Room #12
Gainesville, FL

Just thought I'd post it here so you can refer back it you lose the address 100 times.


Happiness in little things!

Hey there friends and family! I hope that these updates about "nothing" don't bore you, I'm blogging for my own memory's sake as well as for Max's future medical updates. His more purposeful postings will be here in a few weeks! So, don't give up on me if these seem silly! :) It just helps me keep my days somewhat purposeful. Anyways, the little things around here are much appreciated. Here's a couple of them... rain. real, live, rain. raining HARD, and lasting for more than twenty minutes. and reoccurring. unbelievable! The people at the front desk were making fun of me yesterday, because I literaly jogged from the back of the house to the front driveway to sit on a bench and watch the rain. Two shuttle drivers had to pop their head out of their bus to ask if I was coming...looking very confused when I said I was just watching the rain. Sorry Floridians, that is an EVENT. :) So I keep watching the skies to be ready to zip outside in the case of more water miraculously falling from the sky! My next little pleasure is... A bigger room! I had mentioned that the management said they would be moving me into a bigger room, and they did! I didn't request this or anything, they just said that since "CDH moms" are here for so long, it's nice to have more space. Agreed!! It's a really nice little room, theres a twin and a queen bed, and a big window facing a bit more sunshine. That's nice for me, so the clouds don't make me feel so lethargic! A bit larger of a bathroom and a closet are new too, so THANK you RMH! Now, when I switched over to the room, there was a miscommunication, and it hadn't been cleaned yet. I didn't care, but it was apparent, so I started cleaning myself! Stripped the beds down and ran the laundry, and started dusting and sweeping. Cleaning supplies are provided, but honestly I was confused! They are sort up industrial bottles with mystery liquid inside smelling awful. I am either spoiled, stupid, or both, but I just wanted some Comet, Windex, and Lysol Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner! Haha, so in my confusion, I noticed the housekeeper's cleaning cart...STOCKED FULL OF THE GOOD STUFF... Duh...nuh. Duuuuhhh...NUH. DUUUHHNUUH DUUHHH NUHHH!!!! (ok people it's Jaws??) I shamelessly snagged cleaning products from her cart for about an hour when she was away to disinfect the toilet, bathroom floor, sccrruuub the shower, etc! Ya'll understand, right? You never know people's habits, and i want to be barefooted in my own bathroom. :) It was the undercover project for the day, and it resulted in the shiny room you saw above. I even mopped my floors...ahh. I did tell the housekeeper later out of guilt, and she just laughed. The next little happiness is...Westside Baptist Church! I don't have a picture, but they have been so kind to me. Martha and Annie took me to lunch the other day to the Ivy House, and then today Doreen's daughter Sarah picked me up to tag along to church. (Doreen was with Martha's small group that brought dinner) I hadn't met Sarah before, and she was just awesome. Why didn't I go to a church more like at home? It's a place to worship for Pete's Sake, and with people I can sit with, etc. Jordan was teasing (TOTALLY joking) saying, "Do they know you already love Jesus and know God"? Haha shush Mr., there's a thing called kindness for kindness' sake. I went to the college group with Sarah, then the main service, which was really nice! Afterward, I went to lunch with Martha, Annie, Doreen, and Sarah, along with their small group and some others. I can't say enough how much their kindness has lifted my spirits being here. I was telling Jordan that it really caused me to reflect on how little I truly reach out to actively help people who need a hand, or go out of my comfort zone to help someone. Thank you God for good people and a cause for reflection! Anyways, Martha did the SWEETEST thing. I showed up to church today, and look what she made for me/Max/Jordan: A little denim bag, burp cloths, and a little hat! Ahh! She embroidered them beautifully, and I LOVE that it's personalized, how cute!! Also, she did me quite a favor by starting Max off with some Gators Gear; the NICU staff will love that in his hospital crib! (All part of J and my master plan to win the NICU's love.) Just another little thing that made me smile, feel at home, and feel like I have local friends to call on if I need help. Thanks Martha, you made my day. Well, that's about it for today, it's almost six, so I'm gonna go eat some leftovers, watch a movie, and watch grass grow! ;) I really miss my...everything...back home. Jordan should be here this time next week, YAYYY! Until next time! Claire


A fun day! (...thank GOODNESS!)

>> Friday, July 24, 2009

Hey all! This is a long one, pop your popcorn (pop-momo Misty!), and settle in!

I'm not going to lie, yesterday was borrring!!! I know it's only been four days, but I haven't been secluded with nothing to be busy with (errands, cleaning, whatever) ever! Today was fun though. A lady I met on Tuesday night that attends West Side Baptist, who was a part of the small group that brought dinner for the house called me. Martha asked if I'd like to get out of the house and go to dinner with her daughter, who is a NICU nurse at Shands where Max will be! She and her daughter Annie picked me up and we drove about 20 minutes to Williston, FL to a restaraunt called The Ivy House. It's kind of like The Farmhouse or The Landmark in Mesa/Gilbert AZ. It's in the historical district there; an old home refurbished into a restaraunt and decorated with lots of cool antiques, etc. I had some great southern comfort food (Martha and Annie called it), okra, crispy baked chicken, and homemade mac-and-cheese. YUMMM. Here's a couple pics of the Ivy House...

Thank you Martha and Annie for lunch, great conversation, and your willingness to be a friend! Annie and I were able to talk about NICU life, and what I might expect in the hospital with Max.

The word on the street is, there's a hidden-away resort just across the street from RMH with a pool to die for...that doesn't have a lock!! heehee...so I decided to do some recon! Lo and behold, this jungle oasis DOES EXIST. Just across the main road, hidden away, is the luxurious Rush Resort...

Don't be decieved, it is only disguised as a run-down motel to keep the celebrities hidden from the paparazzi and fans...I think. Not sure why the rooms are only $33/night...

Anyways, Sarah and Ashley (Mom and daughter) and Lauren and her son Aiden (CDH mom like me) came swimming at the pool here with me. Yes, I've made some friends! Really though, it's a nice little motel across the street with a great little pool... without a lock. :) So, that's probably where I'll be every afternoon until Jordan gets here. I WILL come home with a tan...yeah right.

After our swim at the resort, the paparazzi caught wind that I was in Gainesville, and they were waiting at the house for me...probably for one of those embarrassing "they're just like us" shots of celebrities looking disheveled...typical day for me. Here's a pic of one of them-

Sorry it's blurry, I was running to get away...you can see that satisfied smile on his face. Some really brazen ladies, from CNN i think, even brought their cameras!
And, can you believe, that in the midst of all my fans and fame, some first round draft NFL player for the Minnesota Vikings named Percy Harvin brought dinner in for the whole house and signed autographs for the families?! Talk about riding my coattails. Poor guy.
Here he is. He was very nice, and actually this picture is hilarious because I shamelessly asked for a picture with him and you could tell he felt very famous and important. Percy was really a great sport, he and his family brought great BBQ for everyone! You could tell he was happy to help out the Ronald McDonald families! Thanks Percy! Jordan, he told me not to post this one or you might get jealous...but we didn't exchange numbers don't worry!

A great dinner much appreciated! :)

Lastly, just thought I'd post a pic of my new pal, Lauren, and her son Aiden. She also in carrying a baby boy with CDH, and she's being induced on August 6th (I'm on the 10th). So keep her in your prayers too!

Aiden's a realllly sweet little boy! Tomorrow they are moving me into a bigger room here so that Jordan and I have more space for such a long stay, and it's right next door to Lauren. That's going to be nice to have a friend through this who knows what we are going through.

Love you all, and hee hee sorry I'm so sarcastic, I think it comes from the boredom!



Doctor's Appointment Update

>> Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hi all! You must be thinkin, "wow! Claire is so great at posting!" Well, my hours are really full with sleeping, sitting, thinking, reading, and people watching, so it's the least I can do. Actually, there are a couple bloggable things today! :) First was my doctor's appointment...

I had an ultrasound done by Dr. Richards, who is the OB in charge of delivering Max, sort of the other half of the dream team working on Max (the first part being Dr. Kays, the surgeon). As he looked Max over, everything was the same. So, not good, but the same. I don't mean that in a negative way, but we are just holding steady I guess. He also confirmed that the heart being underdeveloped is pretty typical in this case, so it's not something to panic about. It comes with the territory he said, so Max should still recover fine in spite of it.

One interesting thing Dr. Richards discovered while looking was the shape of Max's diaphragm. It's not a "straight across" diaphragm like it should be, perhaps with just a gap/hole in it. From one side to the other, it slopes downwards before it attaches to the other side. He said that he has never seen this before, but doesn't really know why it may pose a threat, unless it was hiding a larger defect. So, just a "weird" thing I guess. Jordan said it's because God gave him extra room for his heart and lungs, I say why not! So, I drew some very detailed, quality pictures to help illustrate what I'm describing. Please hold back the accolades and flattery after you see my handiwork.
Here's a normal baby, with the heart and lungs above the diaphragm, with all the extras below. Now, here is my troublemaker...

As you can clearly see in this detailed drawing, complete with big muscles, there is a hernia/hole/gap in Max's diaphragm which allowed all his organs into his chest, pushing his heart far over to the right (and not much below the diaphragm). If you look, you can see how the diaphragm drops down on the one side. This is the anomaly that Dr. Richards described. Who knows, but I guess we shall see in a few weeks.

One last thing...I'm sure you remember my post last night including commentary about Ronald McDonald himself, and my discomfort for the clown? WELL, when I cam home from my doctor's appointment, guess who came to visit all the kids?

I know, I know! I tried to signal to people to run, but they seemed so enamored by him, he must have cast some fast food spell on them. Actually, there was a Christmas in July party for all the kids, and Ronald and Santa came to visit all the kids with presents, etc. The kids were ecstatic, so I'll let it slide this time.
...But don't try to convince me that he doesn't look a bit...suspect.

Love ya'll!


Arriving in Gainesville!

>> Tuesday, July 21, 2009

So I made it to Florida without going into labor...wahoo! Not that I was supposed to, but it's Murphey's Law that since I needed to get safely to Florida before going into labor, something would try to go wrong! But, nope. So, it was great! My flights were safe and uneventful, although flying first class from Phoenix to Charlotte was ammazinggg, having leg (and booty) space was really awesome with my awkward stomach. Thank you Aunt Kate!!!! She took care of Jordan and my travel needs, and what a burden that lifted. Thank you thank you!! :)
The Ronald McDonald House

So here's my new home for the next long while. The welcome to the Ronald McDonald House(RMDH) was awesome and overwhelming. The people were so kind to me, showed me around, and let me get settled in. And, MIRACLES of miracles, there's wireless internet in the house, so I can blog in my room, and just be connected to the world! Hooray!

Gainesville, FL, is like a jungle! I know that I am a serious desert girl, but this is amazing. The weather is actually pretty nice I think. It's kind of humid, but in the mid 80's and very bearable! This is the view looking out from the front door I just showed you. There's just one thing about the front of the house that I really don't think I want to see everyday...a little creepy......

AHHHHH!! Does he not scare anyone else!? What's he thinking..."Hey kids! Come into my house!" ...No thanks Ronald...I digress.

Tonight when I arrived, there was a church small group volunteering at the house. They brought a huge dinner for everyone, potluck style! Yum! The house manager told me that most nights a group brings in dinner. That is so kind, because every single family staying here is hurting, scared, tired, hungry, or stressed, no exceptions. So, many thanks to West Side Baptist Church, you were a blessing to many tonight!

There was seriously so much: chicken salad sandwiches, honey baked ham, twice baked potatoes, meatloaf, strawberry & spinach salad, sloppy joes, all kinds of stuff!

You can kinda see in the bottom right, the table? There's five tables that seat five, and there's two kitchens like this. I sat with the lady and her daughter in the blue shorts there. The little girl has a brain tumor, that has been shrinking after chemo-wow. It blew me away that every person I meet here has a child in need...it's not all about me ya know. The dinner was a nice chance for me to make some friends and get a "feel" for the house's community. Some people definitely kept to themselves, but who knows what they faced today. The best part about dinner was....

Chocolate treats galore, baby!! :)

Yum, Yum! I can't complain about that at all! These people were so kind. Well, anyways, here's a picture of my room for now. The house manager said that she's moving me into a big room maybe at the end of the week, so that when Jordan comes we will have more room. But, for now, it's more than enough for me! Frankly if we stayed here I would still be happy as a clam at $10/day...I'm so grateful.

Sorry Jordan, I know all my pictures are a bit dismal, but they are all taken with my Blackberry camera! :) Either way, you get the feel for it. Directly to my left is the bathroom, to the right is the closet, and then a nice space straight ahead. If you just imagine me sitting in front of the computer there on the bed, that's exactly where I am right now writing to ya'll! :) One last thing I'll share tonight about my welcome wagon...the housekeeper who preps all the rooms for new people left two turtles on my beds, made by her, with little notes hiding inside. It was a small thing that really encouraged me. If you can see, the fabric says "God Cares", and the notes say "God is Powerful" and "Fear Not". Thanks, housekeeper, for the love! (Clearly a lot of names were thrown at me today...I'll actually absorb them over time I hope!) Here they are:

So anyways, it's been a great night. Got acquainted with the staff, settled into my room, had a great dinner, and lastly, one of the front desk volunteers, Pauley, took me to the grocery store! She is 83, and still rockin'. She didn't have to do that, but offered without me asking...again what kindness. So now I have food to eat probably for a week and a half, and then Jordan will be here with a car soon anyways. Thanks Pauley girl, you are wonderful.

So that's about it for tonight...I'll probably become the world's greatest blogger now, out of boredom, for the next three weeks at least until Max is here! I miss everyone already, especially my husband. Until next time, God Bless everyone!

Claire Griffin

Blogger Extrodinaire and Ronald McDonald-Phobe


Again We Say AMEN, but It's Still Raining...

>> Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Here's Mr. Cutie-pants Max at 35 weeks...just a glimpse of that little face. He weighs about 4 pounds, 13 oz right now! He ALWAYS puts his arm and/or hand in his face, and it's getting "tighter" in there, so the shots are tougher for the ultrasound tech to get. Still, we sooo appreciate her giving us the 3D images every time, it's unnecessary and just a kind thing she does for us.


We had our last appointment before leaving for Florida yesterday afternoon. My non-stress test was great, Max was moving like crazy and his heart rate is steady and strong. Our ultrasound was a different matter. After the regular brain/head check, chest cavity check, etc, our tech moved onto checking the heart. Until now, his heart has been perfect, in spite of all those organs (specifically Max's stomach) pushing up against it. Today, however, there was a change. The left side of the heart is pretty squished, specifically the left ventricle (lower right of the four chambers). Also, the aorta looks about half the size that it should be...4mm instead of about 8mm at this point. This is potentially very bad because the aorta is responsible for taking the oxygen rich blood back to the rest of the body. Right now, when the blood is pumped from the right side into the left, some of that blood is shooting/leaking back over to the right side because of the small size and pressure on that smaller left side. There's no way to know how serious this is until he is born, and the other organs are out of the way. The heart would then have the opportunity to "open up"...hopefully!!! A positive detail amongst this news is that although the heart is under some distress, the strength of the blood flow through Max's body is good. That means that even though too small, his left ventricle and aorta are still working hard and getting the job done. Go Max Go!

Jordan and I were riding in the car listening to Casting Crowns "Praise you in this Storm" yesterday, and Jordan was saying how that should be our theme song. It talks about trusting God, saying Amen to his will, but wondering when the storm will be over. Man do we feel that! So, a day later, I am feeling at peace with God's will for us, but I am SCARED. I want to bring Max home. So, again we say AMEN, and we're still waiting.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, friends and family...

Claire Griffin



>> Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ok...so the realization has hit me that we are having a baby. Don't get me wrong, it was in my head that we were having a baby, but this is different. I was sitting at my desk at work thinking about everything that Claire and I have been though the past few months, and it is seriously overwhelming. This has not been the "perfect" pregnancy, but I wouldn't change it for a thing. We have gone though so much that has brought us closer together as a couple and closer to God. It really is amazing what something like this can do. I had never dreamed that it would be as cool as it is. To see Gods hand in everything we are doing is pretty humbling too.

The other big thing that hit me about Max almost being here is the even deeper revelation that I am going to be a DAD. What?!? Am I ready for this? Am I going to be any good? What do I do when he cries? My mom and dad didn't prep me for THIS! They did a great job in all the other areas of my life, but this is something totally new that Claire and I will have to walk though totally together. I am pretty sure that is how we usually do things though...just jump in with both feet and figure out a way to float. Well, actually, I take that back. I do more of the jumping in without looking. Claire will jump in too, but usually she will have a list of how hot or cold the water is, the depth of the jump, the height of the jump, if she has the necessary tools to make the jump successful and an emergency life vest as a back up plan in case something in the jump goes wrong.

That is the greatest thing about Claire though in all of this. She is such a planner that I really KNOW that everything is going to be taken care of. If he cries, she has a plan. If he is hurt, she has a plan. We are as ready as we can be physically for this baby. It is the emotional and mental aspects of it all that I am still trying to grasp. The fact that our lives are FOREVER going to be different is scary and really cool at the same time. We are going to have a SON. I am going to be a FATHER. This scares me and makes me REALLY excited. Max will be here in 39 days. Yikes...I need to go put my board shorts on...time to jump in.


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